BOOM

A Kidoons and Wyrd Production

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Joe Szekeres

This Boom’s shift is even more profound

The year before the pandemic hit, I saw the eye-catching and astounding Boom at Montréal’s Segal Centre, the first of a historical trilogy.

And here we are, three years later, and our world has significantly changed on so, so many levels and in so, so many ways.

To see Boom again on opening night in Port Hope’s beautiful Capitol Theatre, I noticed a huge shift within the production itself. After 400 performances, the engaging Rick Miller remains affable and genial as storyteller, not historian, but there is a remarkable shift in tone.

Which made this Boom resonate even stronger for me.

Miller opens by referring to three people who have made a difference in his life and helped to shape him and become the person he is today: his mother, Maddie, born in Cobourg, Rudi, born in Vienna before the war and Laurence, a Black American musician. These three individuals and their lives crisscross at the University of Toronto at the height of the late 60s counterculture.

Given the societal upheaval of the last two years of the worldwide pandemic which continues, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, US presidents, trucker convoys, Justin Trudeau – the list can go on – Miller now narrates this baby boomer collage of stories with that fatherly tone of humour, compassionate wisdom and understanding to help guide us forward after tumultuous times. We’re all three years older. We’ve all experienced highs and lows during the pandemic. Miller has two older children now so obviously he wants to ensure his daughters are keenly aware of significant historical events that might or could shape their lives as they move forward and carve out their own paths.

Miller remains a hell of an entertainer, there is no doubting that at all. There are so many cultural figures he interprets beautifully and keenly even momentarily: Janis Joplin, Steppenwolf, the swiveling hips of Elvis and Mick Jagger, Jerry Lee Lewis are only several. The staging of the production is still a wonder to watch and behold. Miller performs behind a black scrim centre stage where he is within easy reach of musical instruments and props. When he becomes the cultural icons, a camera is located behind the scrim and Miller plays to it and becomes that individual.

Across the front of the scrim appear historical statements and events sometimes superimposed with black and white and colour photos. There were a few times Miller narrated moments and moved his hands and arms around like a magician, and the pictures moved to where he pointed. A highly visual and attractive effect from an audience view for me.

Creighton Doane’s crisp and clear sound quality throughout the two-hour production maintained my focus consistently. Bruno Matte’s cleanly lit lighting design behind the scrim captured my focus. Various silhouetted moments attractively highlighted the historical dramatic moments when needed.

Final Comments: Rick was born in 1970 (thanks for making me feel old😉) so he doesn’t classify himself as a baby boomer, but he certainly pays loving homage to what he calls in the programme the ‘historical facts which help tell a story, for stories are how we learn from our mistakes – and from each other.”

‘Boom’ is three years older and three years wiser and richer for this ‘explosive’ experience.

I wish you 400 more performances of ‘Boom’, Rick.

Oh, by the way, I’ll put in a word to Capitol Theatre Artistic Producer Rob Kempson to make sure the next two ‘explosive’ installments - ‘Boom X’ and ‘Boom YZ’ - become part of future slates.

Rob, please take note.

Running Time: approximately 2 hours with one 15-minute intermission

‘Boom’ runs to March 20 at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre, 20 Queen Street Port Hope. For tickets and other information, visit www.capitoltheatre.com or call 905-885-1071.

BOOM A Kidoons and Wyrd Production
Written, Directed and Performed by Rick Miller
Stage Manager: Craig Francis
Executive Producer: Jeff Lord
Production Designer: David Leclerc
Lighting Designer: Bruno Matte
Composer/Sound Designer: Creighton Doane
Set/Costumes/Props: Yannik Larivee
Directing Consultant: Ravi Jain

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