Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Opera For Heathens (Fringe)

Cash, Mozart, Puccini, Meatloaf et al.
by Lisa McKeown

“Did you ever wonder if Mozart was actually influenced by Johnny Cash?” asks Kevin Armstrong before belting out a section of “The Magic Flute”, accompanied by Cash-style acoustic guitar playing.  And no, he didn’t get that backwards. Mozart and Johnny Cash are a blend that is at once incredibly catchy and yet uncanny. His show is more a one man concert than a one man show, but is a great set of opera/rock mash-ups, including a hilarious one combining Andrew Lloyd Webber and Puccini, to Queen and Meatloaf (the opera-y-est of the rockers, according to Armstrong). Armstrong’s musical talent reaches from skilled guitar work to a resonant voice, interlaced with self-deprecating jokes and charm in between songs. You almost want to hear more stories about where the ideas for the songs came from, or have some sort of narrative connecting them, to really make this show gel. But then there would be less time for the songs, and you can’t wait to hear what he’s going to play next. This show is definitely worth it for the fun-factor:  where else will you hear these permutations of opera, rock, and rock-opera for these prices? And if you’re left wanting more, Armstrong is selling CDs after the show so you can take a piece of the experience home with you! 

Opera for Heathens is at the Toronto Fringe

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