Last night, as the performance of Hero finished and the discussion on twitter started, I was asked whether I had seen Kin, E.V. Crowe’s previous work for the Royal Court. The answer is no, in fact I have no knowledge of any of her plays. Often the audience’s experience is framed by expectation, in this case my experience is framed by the lack of it.
Hero is the story of Danny, openly gay and teacher in a primary school, who lives with his husband Joe somewhere in the south of England. The couple, excited and apprehensive, has just entered the process for adopting a child. Their friends, Jamie and Lisa, are trying to have a baby themselves. A small incident snowballs, and the four characters make decisions or take action that will show them in different, often unflattering, light. The play says we might not be as liberal as we think. It’s not a startling thought but a personal and character driven response to that revelation would make for a fascinating play. Hero is frustratingly close to being that play, but too often it favours argument and gags at the expense of psychological truth.