Director: Evalyn Parry
Cast: Brad Hart
Review by: Brian Morton
Comedy writer and drummer Brad Hart makes his Hamilton debut with an original monologue about his journey into music and adulthood. With nothing but a drum kit and a few video cues to assist him, he takes us on a 25 year journey from his early teens to the present day
Hart confesses that he picked the drums as his instrument “out of fear – out of a feeling of inferiority”. Through analyzing classic drummer jokes (IE “three musicians and a drummer enter a bar”) Brad discovers a culture of negative stereotypes around playing percussion.
Brad’s drumming career is further complicated by the fact that he is left handed and that as a result he must adjust the positions of the drums in a standard kit in order to play them. This has earned him the ire and annoyance of sound people and other drummers over the years as in many gigs – Brad informs us, there is rarely the opportunity to set up his own drum kit.
Where this show shines is in taking us through Brad’s teenage memories of RUSH worship – Neil Peart with his shifting time signatures and mega-sized drum kit was a shining iconic figure – through adolescence and into a passionate love for many genres of music – Jazz, funk and world music forms. “The groove is everything”.
The script is very well written and in fact won the Hamilton Fringe Playwrighting award this year. I think one of the main reasons that the play works so well, is because it answers the essential questions that I ask of any fringe play very quickly – why are we all sitting here listening to you? What does the does the show have to say to us?
OH GOD THE DRUMS is an artist’s journey into his own creativity. A journey of the soul. A journey of self recognition. And since it answers some profound questions in an entertaining and funny manner – I was really moved by this show.
The play takes on a darker tone when Brad discusses his painful relationship with his father. Through the play we discover that Brad’s father was a man who had no ability to recognize that the drums were not an unhealthy obsession in his son’s life, but were rather the core thing that defined him as a human being. This inability to see a basic and essential truth is at the tragic core of Brad’s story.
I gratefully enjoyed seeing this production. Much of my response to the show is because Brad and I share many similar patterns in our journey through life. I found that it was very easy to identify with him and his struggles to pay the rent and make sense of the choices he has made in his life.
I am pleased that Hart has become part of the Fringe movement. With his authentic and sincere performance, Brad Hart has created something rare and special in OH GOD THE DRUMS. Highly recommended for those who like ideas behind their comedy.