Monday, April 18, 2005

Weekend Reviews

Floyd & Clea Under The Western Sky
A Musical at Goodman Theatre
It's really pretty shocking that this turned out to be the best event of the 3 this weekend, yet this world premiere country/western musical was a sweet little gem. With just two people, and all the music performed on stage, it felt more like a play with music than a traditional musical, and while it was not particularly deep, much of its charm came from the subtle, rather than overtly maudlin, way it treated its subject matter. The show's creator, David Cale, stars as Floyd a down on his luck country singer befriended by Clea, an aspiring star half his age. Even without the bargain basement, in previews, HotTix price of $7.40 that I paid, this one is well worth your time and money.

Paul Westerberg
Concert - 4.15.05 - Riviera Theatre
The Replacements were, and remain, one of my favorite bands, with Westerberg's brilliant songwriting at their core. For some reason, however, the singer has never been able to match that brilliance in his solo career which has now has outlasted the Replacements duration (a flaw he shares with his namesakes, Mssrs. McCartney and Weller, and plenty of others). Nonetheless, I own everything he has released, including albums under his Grandpaboy pseudonym, and could put together a 15-song or so compilation of worthy solo material. But Friday's show at the Riv was a sad showcase of how far from glory he has fallen. It was still a true pleasure hearing some great old Mats' (short for Place Mats, a nickname of the Replacements) songs, like Little Mascara, Left of the Dial, Alex Chilton and Merry Go Round. But much of the non-Mats stuff bored me, and toward the end he got embarrassingly sloppy, like a drunk poet screaming on a street corner. Bad covers played half-way through, smashing stuff on stage like someone half his age, etc.

Lost Land
Play at Steppenwolf Theatre
'Seeing John Malkovich' would've been a more apt title for this world premiere by British playwright Stephen Jeffreys, for the on-stage reappearance of Steppenwolf's most famous, and arguaby best, actor was admittedly what brought me to buy a full-price advance ticket. And while I stipulate that perhaps there was a subtle artistry to this work about people in Hungary during WWI that I couldn't appreciate, other than the chance to see Malkovich, this play really didn't do much for me.

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