Sunday, August 01, 2004

While You're At It...
...Or Shows In A Similar Vein

Still in a musical frame of mind after spending time with...

Whiskey Bars
Big Empty Barn Productions
MCTC Whitney Mainstage

I'm not sure what well and finally hooks me about this one. I'm not your typical cabaret-goer.

Maybe it's that, if you Google the guy's name (Bremner Duthie), you come up with a string of great reviews from other touring and Fringe appearances - Paris, London, here and there all over Canada.

Maybe it's because I missed a Kurt Weill cabaret that passed through the Fringe a couple of years back.

Maybe it's because he's an out of towner also performing in that huge MCTC Whitney Mainstage space that my show's in, and I feel a certain kinship with anyone who has to fill that many seats. (and unlike me, he's actually on that stage, by himself, performing something he wrote, and singing to boot. He's a better man than I.)

Maybe it's that photo of him biting down on a toy piano.

But I don't think, oddly enough, it's because he starts the show in a towel and ends up wearing a tux - though both are certainly a plus.

Having emailed back and forth with him, and read his bio posted on the web, I'm really charmed by the fellow's sense of humor - both about himself, and the show. Some samples...

"Bremner Duthie has been an opera singer, landscape gardener, arts administrator, house painter, playwright, actor, fund-raiser, casino worker, waiter, and recently made his debut as a professional whistler. Sometimes he feels it is this very lack of direction which is the real essence of his work."

"In 1999 he found himself at an impasse. The contemporary opera world seemed filled with dysfunctional egos and bad dates. Looking for a new path, Duthie turned back to one of his first loves, the music of Kurt Weill. He wrote Whiskey Bars and toured it through the Canadian theatre festivals. Whiskey Bars is about being at the end of your rope and struggling to get back on your feet, preserve your self-respect and do the work you love."

"WHISKEY BARS, the one-man hit comedy that dares to talk about bravery, sex with people at the office, and whether theatre critics really are aliens. Come into the dressing room. Sit down. Pour yourself a drink..."

Seriously, visit this webpage in its entirety. It's a hoot.

And enough to sell me on seeing this. And bringing my Mom along.

While You're At It - other shows that, if you like any of the other top ten/sure thing shows I mentioned, should also be of interest to you:

The Valets (for the Plants and Animals crowd)
Punk Rock Awesome (for the In Defense of Sin crowd)
Delaware, And Other Lies (for the Kevin Kling crowd)
Osama Kincaid, Painter of Terror (for the Death Penalty Puppetry crowd)
Pipes (for the Origin of Consciousness crowd)
Lokasenna (for the Metamorphoses crowd)
EAT! A Generous Buffet of Karen Carpenter's Songbook (for the Philosophy/Ben Folds crowd)
Tequila (for the Philosophy/Ben Folds crowd)
VISION'S TALE: Curse of the Machine / Cycles of Social Haunting / Birth of Vision (for the Judas Cradle crowd)
The Queen of Block E (for the Beaded Fringe crowd)

(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit

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