When he presented his live version of "The Wall" in Kansas City in October, Roger Waters needed a fleet of semi-trailers and a sports arena to execute his extravagant and spectacular mission. Some tickets were as high as $200. Few of his viewers walked away feeling anything less than dazzled.
Friday night, an ensemble of local musicians, actors and self-proclaimed bohemians presented the first performance of "A Tribute to Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'." The show was performed three times three years ago at La Esquina as part of the Charlotte Street Foundation's Under the Influence series. The same cast and crew are presenting the show this weekend and next at the Living Room, 1818 McGee St.
Obviously, when a spectacle the size of Water's live show (and/or the film "The Wall") is presented in a space designed for a 100-seat local theater productions and live music events, some modifications and concessions are in order. And the show's producers, directors, costume designer and set builders have accommodated the elaborate theatrical demands surprisingly well.
Aside from one or two opening-night rough spots, the inaugural presentation was well-executed. The cast of 25, including a dozen teen-age actors, with much vigor and camp, convey the rise and fall of Pink, through dance, drama and song. What the visual presentation may lack for anyone who as seen the film or Waters' live show it makes up for in earnestness. It helps that some of the actors are among the most seasoned and polished in the local theater world: Ron Megee (who also produces and directs), David Wayne Reed, Corrie Van Ausdal, Kimberly Queen and Dana Nicholson. It helps too that some of the costumes, all designed by Jon Fulton Adams, are as evocative as the performers wearing them.
Above: Chris Meck, Mark Lowrey and Erik Voeks.
Musically, there are few compromises, thanks to the stellar five-piece band that re-creates the entire soundtrack: Mark Lowrey, Chris Meck, Erik Voeks, Kent Burnham and Cody Wyoming, the show's musical director. Brodie Rush, lead singer of the local rock band Be/Non, shines as the adult Pink. Wyoming and Rush sang most of the vocals, but Voeks and Meck also contributed. Some of the vocals and instrumentals (especially "Comfortably Numb") sound very close to the original versions.
Knowing the story behind "The Wall" -- it's Waters' autobiographical tale of depression, demise and self-isolation -- helps fill in the narrative leaps. But even anyone who is lacking in the specifics of Waters' tale or the history of his magnum opus should walk away from this event impressed with how well it was created, packaged and presented in an intimate setting with such charm, flair and musical accuracy.
|Timothy Finn, The Star
- A Tribute to Pink Floyd's "The Wall" continues tonight, Monday and May 6,7,8 and 9 at the Living Room, 1818 McGee. All starting times are 9 p.m. Tickets are $20. Every night at 8 p.m. there will be a lottery for 10 free tickets. For more information, go here.