Thursday, January 17, 2013

PuSh 2013: Hawksley Workman

I confess that I'm probably the only person in Canada who was not familiar with the singular musical talents of Hawksley Workman. But after last night's performance of his latest cabaret act-cum-live concept album, The God that Comes, at the opening of Club PuSh I am definitely a convert to ecstatic worship of his genius.

The God that Comes, a collaboration between Workman and 2b theatre's Christian Barry, is a one man rock opera based on Euripedes' Bacchae. Workman plays all the instruments--including drums, keyboards, guitar, ukulele, and harmonica--and sings the three main roles of Dionysus, Pentheus, and Agave. An amazing instrumentalist, Workman also has a rich and theatrical voice (think Tom Waits, but up an octave or three), making him an intensely charismatic performer. He's also a perceptive reader of Greek tragedy, bringing out in canny and contemporary ways the genre's links between police states, family dysfunction, and gender dysphoria. As Workman sings, love is hard, surrender even harder: which is maybe why, for the Greeks, a mother and son inevitably end up in bed together, the one holding the other's severed head.

The God that Comes continues at Club PuSh tonight and tomorrow night. It's not to be missed.


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