A review of A Hero of The People at the Sherman Theatre, Tuesday May 17th 2022.
Disclosure - we were invited to the press night and therefore received our tickets free of charge. All opinions are honest and our own.
The Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
The Sherman Theatre is my favourite theatre in Cardiff. It is modern and has a great, relaxed atmosphere. It has a lively cafe bar, plenty of clean toilets and is accessible easily by road or public transport.
They also have several performances designed to be accessible for all. There are socially distanced performances, relaxed performances, help for the visually or hearing impaired and guide dogs are welcomed. I love that everyone has the opportunity to experience theatre here.
A Hero of The People adaptation
A Hero of The People is an adaptation of An Enemy of The People by Henrik Ibsen, which I will be honest is not a book that I am familiar with so I came to the performance with an open mind. It is interesting to note the change in title from Enemy to Hero - are these roles interchangeable or easily confused?
A Hero of The People Cast
The cast of A Hero of The People is small and intimate and supremely talented. I was particularly taken with the talent of the actor Oliver Ryan who plays the protagonist Mick Powell. A couple of the cast members are recognisable for roles in television and I can honestly say that they were all superb. With just a blank stage as a backdrop, this is a play that focuses on the emotion and dialogue between the characters and the cast pull this off very well.
A Hero of The People Review
The play centres on Mick Powell, a local MP who at first seems as if he is a genuine local man with a real interest in his constituents and his local area. He tries to revive a failing town by attracting the interest of a large energy company who are interested in fracking the land. When people in the town start to get sick, it raises a question of whether the fracking has poisoned the water supply. Does Mick Powell try to cover it up and sacrifice the health of the people of the town for financial gain or does he genuinely believe that he is doing the right thing? We are to draw our own conclusions I think.
The themes are modern and relatable. We see small towns dwindling every day and large companies just interested in financial gain. We don't know who to trust and politicians have a bad name. Intertwined with this we have themes of paranoia, distrust, success and failure and dealing with the poor health of family members. Honestly, the play gave me so much to think about that I am still processing it fully.
There is no dramatic action, no flamboyant costumes or dramatic set, the performance hinges on the incredible acting and dialogue and it was a welcome intellectual treat.
As the play progresses we see Mick Powell visibly shrink on stage as his life crumbles around him. The acting we see from his is raw and visceral and we sway between sympathy for him to despising his actions. We see his daughter grow in confidence and watch the Doctor and the newspaper editor push boundaries as they struggle in their fight for the truth.
It's definitely something I would recommend that you watch, it honestly gave me so much to think about, it was a real treat to experience it.
Buy A Hero of The People tickets
You can buy tickets to see A Hero of The People online on the Sherman's website. It is showing until the 28th May 2022 and has various accessible performances too. Tickets cost £20 with concessions at £2 off and under 25's half price.