PASSIONATE, PIQUANT AND PLAYFUL
Let’s face it, we all need a purpose to get us out of bed in the morning. For some it may be as simple as that freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning, for others it’s a well-deserved promotion at the office.
For Irish/Indian performance rapscallion Raoul Bhaneja it’s the blues. It’s his life force, his raison d’être.
And when the slow moving, cigarette lit, dark sunglasses sporting performer roams the theatre space in character prior to the start of the show, you just know you’re sitting at the altar of a musical movement exposé.
‘The blues is hard to get acquainted with. It’s like death,’ he declares.
What’s curious is the harmonica howling frontman’s ability to switch from semi-stand-up comedian to partial biographer in slicing up stereotypes and piecing together historical factoids that captured the hearts and minds of counter a culture generation.
But the insertion of vocalist Divine Brown for dialogue trade off and The Big Time band members all in one show really is about as surreal as it gets.
Without question, Life, Death and The Blues is passionate, piquant and playful. Why it’s taken so long for a genre dissecting presentation to surface on the Toronto stage is anyone’s guess.
So if there’s any question where the blues is a lifestyle, a feeling or simply long suffering channelled into driving guitar rhythms, this Ryerson Avenue welcome mat ends brings an end to the perpetual guessing game.
Review by Steven Berketo
LIFE, DEATH AND THE BLUES by Raoul Bhaneja Sept. 25 – Oct. 19, 2014 THEATRE PASSE MURAILLE, 16 Ryerson Avenue, Toronto TICKETS $22.50 – $38.00 416-504-7529 www.passemuraille.ca STARRING Raoul Bhaneja, Divine Brown, Jake Chisolm, Tom Bona, Chris Banks DIRECTOR Eda Holmes LIGHTING Bonnie Beecher SOUND DESIGN Richard Feren COSTUME CONSULTATION Laura Gardner