Show Me a Hero Review – The End of a Dream

Rico Simonini and Ilia Volok in SHOW ME A HERO - Photo by Anne Mesa

Playwright Willard Manus manages to combine love for democracy with love for another in his epic new play, premiering in Los Angeles in February 2020. Billed as a “a love story for the ages,” SHOW ME A HERO tells the tale of Greek freedom fighter Alexander Panagoulis and Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci – a pair who brought new meaning to fireworks from the moment of their meeting to their final fated farewell.

Ilia Volok and Lisa Robins – Photo by Anne Mesa

With some name changes to protect the innocent – and perhaps the guilty as well – SHOW ME A HERO breathes life into Petros (Ilia Volok), a genuine hero who faced months of torture and imminent death many times over after his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the leader of the Greek military dictatorship which wrested control of the country between 1967 and 1974. After several years of pain, privation, and incarceration, he has learned to hold his emotions in careful check – that is, until he meets the fetching and fearless Italian reporter Luisa (Lisa Robins). When she arrives in Greece to interview the famed Petros, sparks begin to fly as the spirited couple explore each other.

Ilia Volok – Photo by Anne Mesa

Despite sage advice from Luisa and his childhood best friend Dimitry (Rico Simonini), the passionate Petros has decided that now – after the fall of the dictatorship and his release from prison – he must expose those who were behind the junta which caused the collapse of the Greek government and his assassination attempt. Even if those shadow figures are some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country. For this is a hero whose rigid single-mindedness in the pursuit of truth may also prove to be his fatal flaw.

Lisa Robins and Ilia Volok – Photo by Anne Mesa

Under the taut direction of Daniel E. Keough, SHOW ME A HERO follows Petros’ downward spiral as his love for democracy becomes a fixation which – despite his passion for the woman he sees as his fated partner – must ultimately lead to tragedy. The production team has maximized the small theater space into an array of mini-locations. Jonathan Harrison’s sound and Mark Baker’s lighting effectively keep the story moving. And let’s not forget that a story of Greece would not be complete without Greek music and dance. Thanks to Dalia Miller’s musical supervision and choreography, SHOW ME A HERO gives an opportunity for Petros and Luisa to dance away their troubles. Special kudos to the talented pair who livened up those happy moments with exuberance and energy.

Rico Simonini and Ilia Volok – Photo by Anne Mesa

SHOW ME A HERO is a fascinating study taken from real life and should appeal to audiences interested in history, especially Greek history. At the same time, this is a love story which will draw in audiences captivated by deeply emotional themes. The parallel between stories from ancient Greek theater and these contemporary characters will certainly keep the audience involved.

SHOW ME A HERO runs through March 29, 2020, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Brickhouse Theatre is located at 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Tickets are $20. For information and reservations, phone 800-838-3006 Ext 1 or go online.

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