After seeing some heavy character work both in solo and ensemble shows this year at the Fringe, it took me a couple of moments to switch gears for Brad Hart‘s “stand-up monologist” performance style in his show Oh God-The Drums (Olmstead Productions) playing at St. Vladimir’s Theatre in this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. However, after maybe five of those minutes, I began to get wrapped up in this endearing story.
The stage is set: A wooden stool opposite a drum kit. Brad Hart emerges to play himself, telling the story of his growth into the drummer and the artist he is today: someone who loves what he does, and shares the difficult times that lead him to choose such a life.
What I really appreciate about this piece is that Hart doesn’t rely on his musical skill to make for a good show. He could have easily, and I was half expecting him to just kind of ‘rock out’ of on his drum kit for a while, and pepper in some sweet anecdotes along the way and he would have also had himself a crowd-pleaser.
What Hart does instead is take the harder, crafted route and really use his drumming as a tool to tell a textured story that is vulnerable, and very well edited. He, in fact, barely touches the drum kit, only using it to bring us back to moments of his first childhood solo or to teach us various things about the instrument that have direct significance to the moment in time he is recreating for us. It’s a one man show and it can be hard to self edit. I really commend him on his restraint and his focused storytelling.
Oh God-The Drums is a delightful piece by emerging performing talent Brad Hart (emerging at writing anyway, he’s been drummin’ for a while). There’s a bit of buzz around this show so you’ll want to get there early for the best seats as I find the venue doesn’t have great all around seating.
I feel like I need to mention that St. Vladimir’s Theatre is really cold. Please bring a sweater to this venue, as you don’t want to be distracted during the show. I don’t understand why St. Vladimir’s is fully cranking the AC. Maybe they’re actually keeping the body of St. Vladimir in the next room? I don’t know, and now I’m reaching. Anyway, I have now seen a few really good shows here, so don’t be scared off, but keep warm! The Front of House actually offers blankets now, but there’s not enough for everyone!
- Oh God-The Drums is playing at St. Vladimir’sTheatre (620 Spadina Avenue)
- July 03 08:45 PM, July 06 02:15 PM, July 08 03:00 PM, July 10 07:45 PM, July 12 02:15 PM, July 13 12:00 PM, July 14 09:00 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are 10$ ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only) and go on sale one hour before showtime. 50% of tickets are available in advance and are $11 ($9+$2 service charge), these can be purchased online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416 966-1062 ext 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W).
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.
Please note that there is absolutely no latecomer seating during the Toronto Fringe Festival
Photo provided by the Theatre Company.