Review: Emma Whitelaw
AFTER a critically-acclaimed, sell-out season at the Soho Theatre,
in January, The Hurricane has now hit the West End's
Arts Theatre with the same brute force.
Richard Dormer is truly magnificent as two times Snooker World
Champion, Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins. Taking to the stage with such
boundless energy, he tells the compelling story of how a legend
had and lost it all.
It is a brilliant portrayal of how a nine-year-old boy hustled
his way from the back street snooker halls of Belfast to become
the youngest ever World Champion at the age of 23, only to to
lose it all and end up as a washed out sports hero with nothing
but a pint and a bookies ticket to cling to.
In what could easily be your average tale of fame to shame, Dormer
flagrantly pulls at the heartstrings of his audience.
And he does it oh so well! He manages to transform what could
easily be the story of a man who simply got what he deserved into
a story of a man with whom we could all relate to.
He brings the human out of the star, so that we can see the man
within the 'Hurricane'.
At the tender age of 23, Higgins was touring the country non-stop,
game after game, night after night. It's little wonder, then,
that drink, drugs and fast women soon took priority over an otherwise
After a horrendously demanding year, Higgins was hardly fit to
defend his title in 1973.
A defeat to Eddie Charlton in the semi's meant he didn't even
make it to the finals. Such tragedy exudes from his entire tale.
Loves are lost, hearts are broken, games become mere clockwork,
and his passion dies.
It takes Higgins 10 years to return to the top of his game, and
when he does, he has everything - a beautiful wife, a child and
one hell of a comeback! He is in top form, but, soon after, the
temptations of fame again lure him from success.
There is no doubt, after witnessing such a remarkable performance,
that Dormer is in every way worthy of the accolades his show has
received; Best Actor at the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winner
of the BBC Stewart Parker Award for new writing and Best Actor
in the Irish Times/ESB Irish Theatre Awards.
But even after a standing ovation, there's no bigger endorsement
than to find Mr Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, himself, in the foyer,
signing autographs after the show.
It truly was a fantastic experience and, in my own opinion, The
Hurricane is the best show I've seen so far this year.
I strongly recommend you too get along to the Arts Theatre and
prepare to be blown away!
The Hurricane, written and performed by Richard Dormer. Directed
by Rachel O'Riordan, Design by Gary McCann, Lighting and Sound
by John Riddell. Presented by Kevin Wilson Public Relations. 29th
March to 8th May at The Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street,
London WC2. Tickets 020 7836 3334.