HIRO is a delightful tale that will sweep you away into a world of introspection, love, hardship, and survival. Based on the true story and subsequent novel The Man Who Sailed His House it tells how one man survived the Japanese tsunami of 2011 by sailing his roof with nothing but three energy drinks and some sweets in his pocket. The whole thing feels magical – like a fable, from dozens of beautiful origami birds suspended high in the air, to the old-fashioned looking solid table and tea things emerging mythically from the dark.
Creator and Director Samantha Chester has created an entire world within the intimate space of The Blue Room Theatre. As Hiro (Humphrey Bower) recites how his day began, it has the lilting rhythm of a fairytale or storybook – familiar, yet exciting in the anticipation building for the adventure. Bower is phenomenal. He narrates Hiro’s life while moving in a comforting, rocking motion – this is mirrored by Kylie Maree who represents Hiro’s wife but also his inner self as the show progresses.
Battered by a tremendous soundscape composed by Ekrem Eli Phoenix, the mounting storm that becomes a devastating tsunami acts as another character – it’s all encompassing and engulfs Bower, so that every sense is activated. Bower crouches on the upturned table that represents his roof and listens to the sounds of the ocean – at once terrifying and comforting. There is something in the rocking motion that provides a sense of safety, despite being so terrifyingly exposed.
Maree is a remarkable physical performer. She moves in such a dancerly fashion, her arms become extensions of the waves as she transforms a simple piece of paper tablecloth into a figure with real humanity and emotions etched onto its plain ‘face.’ It is truly beautiful to watch. Chester’s writing is impeccable – every single movement is thought out, every word and the intonation that Bower uses builds into creating something that is so epic in scale and humanity but is presented as intimate and shared.
HIRO is a simply beautiful play that really invites you to feel. Its fable like quality connects you to the characters in a way that a news report never could. Bower and Maree are absolutely perfect and Chester should be incredibly proud of what she has achieved – a wonderful tale of hubris, love, and emotion that connects with an audience and is told in a stunningly elegant manner.
Review | Laura Money
WHEN: 19 – 30 June | 7pm | 3 – 7 July 2018 | 8:30pm
WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge | PERTH
INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 60 mins | Recommended 16+