Thursday, October 6

Heroin to Hero – Army @ the Fringe

In the fitting surroundings of the army barracks, we are introduced to Paul Boggie, who has a very disturbing tale to tell.  Played by actor and playwright Tony McGeever this is the story of Paul Boggie, reformed heroin addict who fought his addiction, to turn his life around to later join the army and to guard the Queen.  Interested?

From the book of the same name penned by Boggie, the writer has now brought the story to the stage.  This dark true tale opens our eyes to the reality of the impact that drugs have on Scottish communities, and acts as a warning to anyone thinking that drugs are a harmless bit of fun.

Boggie begins with his childhood, born in 1979, he was one of four children, and his dad enjoyed nothing more than kicking a football around with his kids, but football was not one of Boggie’s strengths, and his dad teased him about his lack of footballing prowess.  As he grew up, he longed for attention, and if he could not garner this attention from his own achievements, then he would find it some other way, by being bad.

McGeever is the sole player, and his role as the tortured soul full of self-loathing and desperation, is excellently portrayed.  There are moments when Boggie feels that he has let down is 8-year-old child, that he can no longer go on with this shallow life.  It is interesting that the teenage Boggie was anti-drugs, but his need for attention, weighed against the lack of attention, when he called people out for their drug taking, took its toll, and he gave in to the pressure.

There were many poignant moments in this play, and the writing is direct, not wanting to hide any of the facts, as Boggie wishes other people to learn from his own experiences.  It can sometimes feel uncomfortable to see how drugs can possess someone, and this play is powerful and certainly gets the message across.  It is a play of hope, that anyone can turn their life around if they really want to, and Boggie certainly did that.

This team of two have done an incredible job of telling a true-life story, whilst also educating.  McGeever’s performance is excellent, helped by the writer with his gritty script.

The show runs until the 28th August at Army @ The Fringe and tickets can be bought by following this link –

Reviewer: Caroline Worswick

Reviewed: 9th August 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★