Boom is my kind of show
Rick Miller’s solo show explodes at the Segal Centre
By Byron Toben
Rick Miller’s one-man show Boom has about 50 performances left in its 255 scheduled shows across Canada. I truly enjoyed it so much as a reviewer that I plan to actually pay to see it again before it leaves Montreal. It is “mos def” my kinda show.
As regular readers may have noticed, I love big sprawling canvases with interacting vignettes of a mix of real and fictional characters, wherein the political and economic backgrounds of the era are reflected in, or reflect, the pop culture of the times.
In film, see Robert Altman, in print read John Dos Passos or E.L. Doctorow, on stage, Tom Stoppard.
Rick Miller was born in 1970. Boom traces the preceding quarter century, the post WW II Baby Boomers era, starting with the atomic bomb explosions of August 1945, quaintly named Little Boy and Fat Man. These explosions, “Brighter than a thousand suns” as predicted in the ancient Sanskrit epic Bhagavad-Gita, were a fitting Big Bang Boom to our times.
It is amazing how Miller captures such personalities as Churchill, Kennedy, Nixon, Castro and M.L. King, while weaving in 24 vocalists ranging from Perry Como and Tony Bennett to The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Joanie Mitchell and of course, Bob Dylan.
Binding these bits together are the stories of his Austrian born father, his somewhat fictionalized Canadian hippie mother, and an Afro American draft dodger.
All this is generated around an oval rolled stage scrim which can best reflect videos and images on it.
I first met Rick Miller back in 1995, where he unveiled his all time Fringe hit Mac Homer at the Player’s theatre space in McGill’s Shatner building. This featured him doing all the voices of the TV Simpsons doing Shakespeare’s Mac Beth against a slide show of the characters (also drawn by himself) operated by his now wife Stephanie Batiste, a fine actress in her own right. (I fondly remember her playing in a few Checkov short pieces at the Atwater library.)
After 17 years of touring Mac Homer internationally, he has retired from that particular show but has a slew of DVDs available after each Boom show where, by the way, he stays for audience talkback after each performance.
I predict an eventual future sequel to Boom covering Generations X and Y and the Millennials.
Miller was last seen here, at the Centaur, in David Ives’ Venus in Fur.
Now you can see him in Boom at the Segal Centre until April 10.
Tickets: 514 739-7944 or segalcentre.org
Images: Paul Lampert
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club.
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