• Date:
    Wednesday, March 31, 2004

    Richard Dormer gives a mesmerising and vigorous performance in his own one-man play about the snooker champion Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins. He literally throws himself about the stage, the sweat pouring off him, in a powerful performance that is exhausting to watch!

    For anyone who can remember Alex Higgins there can be no doubt that Richard Dormer has successfully recreated the notorious bad-boy of snooker: the slightly effete quality to his voice, the manic look in his face and the frantic physical gestures. One soon realises that he portrays Higgins as a man who lived life in the fast lane, and whose life quickly crashed out of control as a result.

    However, although Dormer successfully portrays Higgins, he never explains the man. What we have are a few biographical sketches, a brief chronological account of Higgins life and career. There is no explanation, no delving in to the man’s psyche, and no observation of how his outlandish behaviour impacted upon friends and family.

    Higgins lived life on the move, and saw all responsibility as a cumbersome burden. This unwillingness to settle is summed up by the contents of three suitcases, which Dormer opens as the play progresses. The contents focus on the failings of Higgins life: marriage, alcoholism and money. Immature to cope with wealth Higgins quickly slid into alcoholism that destroyed his marriage.

    There is little here to fill a play, even one as short as ‘Hurricane’ which only runs for 70 minutes. Listening to Higgins blame others for his difficulties rather than face up to the shortcomings of his personality grows increasingly irritable. Sporting legend he may be, but there is nothing else about Dormer’s portrayal of the man to warrant writing a play about him. Sporting hero’s like George Best or Alex Higgins may warrant our sympathy, the very thing Dormer tells us Higgins does not want, but not our adulation.

    Sadly, Dormer’s impressive performance is all the play really has to commend it, but as powerful as Richard Dormer’s acting is, I soon found myself tiring of this hyperactive ball of energy that literally refused to stay still for more than a few moments.

    Alan Bird

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