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Review – Heroes: top notch evening at the theatre

Gary Kliger, Cam Castles and Andrew Wallace: tied up in knots. Photos by Dan Ryan


By Tom Stoppard

Adapted from Le Vent Des Peoliers by Gerald Sibleyras

Directed by Margaret Bell

Centenary Theatre Group

Chelmer Community Hall

Cr Queenscroft and Halsbury Streets


Season: March 9-30. Duration: one hour 45 minutes including interval. Bookings: or 0435 591 720

You couldn’t ask for anything better in any theatre.

Heroes is a well-crafted play with joy, laughter and sadness and three beautifully drawn characters each quite brilliantly acted by a trio of experienced thespians. Not only that but it ran perfectly to the advertised time – 45 minutes for each act of three scenes each.

It was a top notch evening at the theatre, which deservedly is well booked.

The plot has three French war heroes whiling away their lives in an old soldiers’ home. Redevelopment close by is threatening heir way of live and the sanctity of their much-loved terrace, which is also home to a stone dog statue.

Max the dog is considered a pet by Gustave, a blustering bad-tempered man who suffers from agoraphobia. He is a relative newcomer to the home with a mere six month stay.

His companions are long-term inmates, Henri, a semi-crippled paranoid and Phillipe, a man with a piece of shrapnel lodged in his brain who is constantly dropping into a faint. He is the man in the middle who wants to agree with everyone.

The trio decide then to escape the home and run away to Indo China or at least the copse of poplar trees at the top of a distant hill.

There is a lot of planning that involves barbed wire and machine guns.

He three have differing ideas and it’s the constant playing off one another that creates the magic in the play. But great as the dialogue is written it take talent to create the roles and here Director Margaret Bell excelled in her casting,

The heavily bearded Cam Castles was Gustave who, with a simple eye movement or a twitch of the lips showed his mood and his mood changes. His outward bombast covered his insecurities and we forgave his outbursts because we could see the inner self.

It was the same with Gary Kliger’s Henri: he had with one of the most realistic limps I have seen a stage and his paranoid state was released slowly. He was an imperfect human perfectly played.

Andrew Wallace, with his Van Dyke beard and moustache, could have been a retired Musketeer. But his demeanour was never warlike, appeasement was his style. Again here was a character that blended and yet disrupted the make-up of the complex trio. His was a performance that latched equally the other two actors.

Comic timing was spot on and the pace of delivery perfect.

This is one production I could watch again.

Top marks and five stars to a superb community theatre production.

Gary Kliger, Cam Castles and Andrew Wallace in more jovial mood.