TO Fringe Review: The Last Rock N’ Roll Show

Toronto – Occasionally it crosses my mind that being a music reviewer might be essentially futile. I mean, they say writing is the first draft of history, but are people in the future really going to wonder how good or bad Melody Gardot’s Toronto show was back in 2009?

The lead character in The Last Rock N’ Roll Show, Alana (Dayna Chernoff), is asking herself similar questions. She tells the story of how she went from passionate independent music blogger to slightly bored professional critic to hyper-critical bitchy columnist and declares that she’s had enough. She questions the urge to write itself, the notion of criticizing things we wish we could do ourselves, and muses that while the past may be the prologue to the present, the only reason we know of it is because somebody with nothing better to do at the time wrote it down.

Needless to say, I felt a certain resonance with this.

Rather than being a lengthy monologue, however, The Last Rock Show is actually Chernoff’s performance plus, well, a rock show, as this solo debate is framed within the memory of Alana’s first rock show. Playwright/songwriter/guitarist/singer Jeff Jones and drummer Bram Cayne, bassist Daniel MacEachern, and keyboardists Amelia Pipher and Danielle Kolenko alternate songs with Alana’s monologue. They are the kind of band you could imagine seeing in a small bar someplace, and they hit on a lot of rock n’ roll clichés as necessitated by the plot: the “one, two, three, FOUR!”, the solos, the lyrics, the ballad, etc. I could’ve used a bit less of the band and a bit more of Alana’s story. Their eight songs is probably two too many, and they might not inspire me to a lifetime of music writing if I saw them today, but if I was 15 and had snuck into a bar to see them like in the plot, hey, it’s possible.

They’re not a bad band, but Alana’s dialogue and story make the show.

The Last Rock N’ Roll Show plays at Venue 3. Check your Fringe program or the online play listings for showtimes.

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Posted on by Brian in Fringe, Reviews, Theatre

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