Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Live show reviews

I believe I promised to take a break from talking about Gozer so that I could review the live shows that we've seen this past week. Speaking of reviews, I had an anonymous coward post a rather ridiculous comment insulting me because he/she/it didn't like what I had to say about Father's Day. Honestly, I found the whole thing more hilarious than upsetting. If you're going to insult me, please try to be creative. Also, please post under your own name so that I can take you seriously. Now, on to the reviews...

Last Thursday we went to see Rock of Ages, a musical that features music from the 80s. The story follows several people who are connected in some way to The Bourbon Room, a bar in Hollywood. Our main characters are Sherrie, who has arrived from a small town and wants to be a model, and Drew, an aspiring metal band frontman. Supporting characters include: Dennis, the bar's owner; Stacee Jaxx, a hot hair band frontman; Hertz and Franz, who want to knock down the bar to revitalize the Strip; Regina, who is protesting the bar's closure; and Justice, a strip club Madame. And of course there's Lonny the bar patron who also serves as narrator and speaks directly to the audience.

The story is entertaining, if shallow, and the songs are fun. Sometimes the dancing and the behaviour can be a little flamboyant, if you know what I mean, and if you're not into that style it can feel like a little much. The ensemble cast doing their sexy dancing in their sexy clothes makes up for some of that flamboyancy - in fact, some of the dancing can be a little too sexy, if you know what I mean, and some might find that dancing a little much. However, I noticed that many people (especially the men) were watching these dancers very carefully and none of them seemed to find it too sexy or think it was too much.

All in all, Rock of Ages was a fairly entertaining, light-hearted couple of hours. Because the story and characters are a little one-note, if you don't like the songs in this musical then you probably won't like the show all that much. At the same time, if you do like the songs then you'll probably like the show, especially if you can get tickets on the cheap.

On Monday we saw André-Philippe Gagnon. I had no idea what kind of a show I was going to see so I had no expectations. It turns out that he's does musical impressions and that he's quite good at it. Not every voice or tempo was perfect but almost all of them were spot-on.

The first hour of the show was a history of rock and roll from the 1950s to the present. What's amazing is that he's able to capture not just the singing voices of all of these singers but also their mannerisms and facial expressions. It was amazing to watch him transform from one to the other to the next over the course of a few minutes. He'd sprinkle in funny comments occasionally and sometimes he would change the lyrics to be funny in some way or another but this part of the performance was less funny and more awe-inspiring.

After he finished up the history, he got the audience more involved. He had one fellow (who was clearly not a singer) sing a verse from some song and then he was going to imitate that fellow. Instead, he switched the mic back and forth between them and it was hilarious - somehow he sounded just like the guy from the audience, flat and off-key notes and all.

I really enjoyed this show and I'd love to see him perform again. I figure that he does a slightly different show on each tour so there would be something new to see each time. If you get a chance to see AndrĂ©-Philippe Gagnon, take it - it's worth the time and cost.

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