Struck by a foggy mist in a dark room, I didn’t know what to expect from Kieran Hurley’s Heads Up.
Promising a tale foreboding Armageddon, Hurley has a hypnotising stage presence; a lack of trivial opulence; an abundance of poignancy. Hurley refrains from hiding the tricks of the gab, having his lights and soundboard clear on display, a desk centre-stage, a candle marking the beginning and end, inviting the audience to an hour of gorgeous writing and presentation.
Hurley is a stark contrast to the meek, melancholy actors on the silver screen; yet not so far as to be an eccentric Bond villain or cartoon vigilante. Hurley is merely a vassal to present his story, a story that may be too eerily close to home.
The standards for the apocalypse genre (meteors, solar flare, and tsunamis etc.) are somewhat irrelevant to his story.
Hurley presents a tale which can happen to anyone at any time. For example a girl traumatised by her own actions, a man struck with terror, the weight of the world on his shoulders, the retail worker, whose desperation gets the better of him, yet the most articulate and thought-provoking would be the casual TV viewer, the drugs coursing through him, gifting us a distorted yet enriching view of current affairs. What makes the production ever better, is how Hurley throws you, the audience, into the picture.
What strikes Hurley as superlative would be his lack of temperance to the taboo. There is no glossed-over, comprehensive environment discussion on current affairs – his gritty realism steps beyond the void of political correctness, an example many future entertainers should take inspiration from.
To extend on the audience’s involvement, Hurley projects the lives and personalities of his characters onto the audience, making the factory worker a business tycoon, and a pensioner a distressed teenage girl.
Hurley’s Heads Up was a thought-provoking break – a prime distraction in the rabble of a hectic General Election, and a chance to truly consider what matters in modern society. Truly captivating, Hurley doesn’t relent, producing a spectacle that is captivating from start to finish.