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Big Plastic Heroes

UNDER St. Marks

By Sarah Lucie
Slash Coleman
Photo: Lynne Duddy

Who was your first hero? Did you swing around the back yard shooting spider webs from your wrists? Maybe you were more the presidential type making speeches to your stuffed animals. Or perhaps the daredevils caught your imagination, just as Evel Knievel did for Slash Coleman.

Storyteller extraordinaire Coleman brings the audience along for a ride back to 1976, when Evel Knievel’s bicentennial jump over a tank of great white sharks drew major news coverage, and a little boy’s complete obsession. Clad in a red, white and blue jumpsuit and helmet, Slash dreamed of emulating his hero in every way possible. If Knievel’s antics landed him beautiful women, then surely they would help Slash win the affections of his teacher — and so begins a journey that ends with his leg in a cast. Coleman’s story is wonderfully entertaining, but his storytelling skills are the real star. He brilliantly describes his colorful family members with off-the-wall descriptions that hit right on the mark. Then, he impersonates everyone from his old, denture-less neighbor to his younger identical twin sisters who engage in their own form of twin speech. Slash has a gift with language that transforms the scene of a man on a stool into an Evel Knievel daredevil jump right before the audience’s eyes.

Coleman relates to the audience, putting everyone at ease as if it we were settling into story-time. He will look in your eyes, get up close, and sometimes even expect dialogue back. Just like a tour guide, he is attentive and focused, leading the audience through every twist and turn with thoughtful purpose, making sure that no one is left behind.

Yet another joy of the performance is a visit from Becca Bernard. There’s no better way to set the mood than a charmingly kooky clown performance, complete with audience participation and a stolen kiss. Bernard’s expressive face and infectious enthusiasm could carry a show all their own.

Big Plastic Heroes is a fun story, but also a complete experience if you can allow your imagination to be swept away. Luckily, Coleman seems to have no trouble capturing imaginations. Maybe he’s found his very own superpower.

Big Plastic Heroes; Written and Performed by Slash Coleman; UNDER St. Marks, 94 Saint Marks Place;