Seriously – immediately call and get tickets to see this stunningly delicious piece of theatre. A group of very talented young Montreal actors (2 male, 2 female – plus 4 musicians and a sound crew) used Indiegogo to raise the money to make this event possible – and it is up to us – their audience – to support their efforts.
For those unfamiliar with Jacques Brel, he was a composer and singer of the like of Leonard Cohen – with the same down and beaten story telling motifs, great lyrics, and wonderful rhythms, but without the religious overtones. Jacques Brel composed his songs in French, but they were translated into English many years ago – and for most of us, the ones we recognize are the English versions.
This production by In Your Face alternated between English and French, with a bit of Flemish thrown in with “Marieke”. But it isn’t just about the songs – it’s about what the performers with their live musician backup are doing while they are performing the songs. This behind the singer action is often the highlight of the piece. Another highlight – Jacques Brel’s songs were written to become more and more emotional as they go on – and the older of the male performers was particularly committed to that escalation of energy, commitment, and anguish.
It would be impossible to fairly pick one favorite song – standouts included “When I am Dead”, “Carousel”, “Brussels”, “If we only had love”, “Au Suivant”, “Sons of” – there are so many brilliantly executed pieces to enjoy – but I walked out humming “Marieke”.
Go – please go. You won’t be sorry – and who knows when another opportunity to enjoy such an over-the-top theatrical piece will come our way.
(I was in the Audience on Friday, March 23)