JOE’S CAFE

4panel_ThumbholeTubePocket_Digipak_#15089Playwright & Director: Rupert Wates
Cast: Rupert Wates, Bartosz Hadala

Review by: John Girhiny

When the audience entered the theatre we found the two artists on stage ready to perform.  Nattily dressed in black suits with shirt and tie,  Rupert with his guitars and Bartosz with his keyboard.  Rupert is the song writer and vocalist of the group. We are welcomed in song to Joe’s Café.

Professionals they both are and this professionalism was tested as the power went out half way through the performance.  Not a note was lost and not  a pause in the performance.  The last half of the show was performed by Rupert on an acoustic guitar as a solo act.

This gave the audience an opportunity to see the dynamic duo and contrast this with a solo voice and guitar.  Based upon audience reaction they loved it.  Personally I think I was fonder of the last half of the show than the first but I think this was due to the  contrast in the style.

Rupert has written the songs of the show and each tells a story associated with an event in the history of the United States.  Each has a content universal in nature and so the show can be appreciated by anyone of any nation.

A characteristic of his pieces is the “wordiness” of the song.  There are many words artistically crammed into each song.  Each tells a story and there is very little fill material presented between pieces.  The audience is enthralled with the performance.

The show starts with a song dedicated to Kathleen Kincaid who in the 1960’s had to be raised by her uncle and his family and is sexually assaulted by her uncle.  The piece is beautifully and subtly portrayed.  The next is about a Miss Burgoyne and the Old Milwaukee train.  Following this is a tribute to George Carlin.  Next comes an a cappella piece which is a tribute to Diane Wellington.

Then we are taken to New York for a winter adventure which is immediately followed by a Bronx piece of 2006 wherein police put 50 shots in a fellow they believed was carrying drugs in the Queens area.

The show continued with a piece we regret to inform you, a song about Afghanistan, one about 1950’s in West Virginia and an incident involving a black woman and a white man.  Other songs in the show dealt with the dust bowls of 1932, days of mercy will come again and finally when you haven’t got a prayer.

 The show ended with a reprise of Joe’s Café.

As you can see there is a tremendous variety of content in the show and the writing of each song demonstrates much talent.  Performing one’s own work is an activity of love and this was clear from Rupert’s show.

If you enjoy listening to songs that tell a story you will be delighted to go to Joe’sCafé.  CD’s are available for $10 after the show.

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