Fringe Day 1, Part 5 - Friday August 6, 2004, 10pm
Big Empty Barn Productions
MCTC Whitney Mainstage
Mom says, "Wow. That was...wow."
It's a simple set up. A cabaret performer, down on his luck and attempting a comeback performance he's financing himself, doing music he loves, is in his dressing room, verbally fencing with an unseen but not entirely supportive critic wanting an interview before the curtain goes up.
Descriptions of this show call it a reverse striptease but that's only half true. Yes, he starts out in a towel and ends up in full tux, white-face, and top hat. But Bremner Duthie's onstage alter ego is constantly fighting his emotions and uncertainties lurking just below the surface of the bravado as he steels himself for the show that will make or break him. In that way, he's making his character more naked as the show goes on.
And much as I've ranted before about how I'm tired of hearing of the trials and tribulations of artists, this one is one of those notable exceptions that works because, as all the best ones do, this show makes the performer fully human first, "Artist" with a capital A, second.
But the big draw here, folks, is Bremner Duthie's voice. He sings the songs of Kurt Weill gorgeously, with tremendous passion. It's great fun.
So go see the show that keeps racking up the awards on the Fringe and cabaret circuit, including, most recently, Outstanding Solo Performance in Ottawa, and Best Musical Production in Winnipeg.
This is the kind of good stuff I love the Fringe for bringing to our town.
(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit www.matthewaeverett.com)