|The 4 friends preparing for adventure|
The Lantern Theater Company, located in St. Stephen’s Church, 10th and Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia, has done it again. It has ended another spectacular season with a sure-fire hit...the Philadelphia premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Heroes. Set on a “private” terrace of a veterans’ retirement home, Heroes explores the psyche of 3 World War I veterans, all damaged by the war to some degree. It is the humor in this adaptation that creeps up on you so unexpectedly. In the first act we are introduced to Henri, played by Peter DeLaurier, Gustave, portrayed by Dan Kern, and Philippe, portrayed by Mal Whyte. Oh yes, and the dog, played by a stone statue. Philippe’s belief that the dog can move is not really funny in the first act, even to the other two veterans,but it can be explained away by the shrapnel which was left imbedded in his head and causes him to have periodic “spells”. Henri also has physical damage from the war…a crippled leg, but it doesn’t stop him from taking walks to observe the young girls in a nearby girls’ school. Gustave appears very self-possessed and in command until we learn he can barely leave his room, let alone leave the grounds or relate to others. These revelations are humorous but watch out for the second act. What was slightly amusing in the first act becomes hysterical with just a slight twist added to the script. It is no holds barred. Nothing is sacred and I found myself laughing almost non-stop as the veterans and the dog plan an excursion. Lighting designer, Janet Embree has done fantastic work- the blackouts are quick and the actors are repositioned on the stage with no one in the audience being the wiser. This show will only run through June 9, so order your tickets immediately if you haven’t already done so. For more information or tickets, call 215- 829- 0395 or visit online at lanterntheater.org.