BWW Reviews: THE LION Roars with Irresistible Charm
The irresistible charm of Benjamin Scheuer and his one-man musical, The Lion, tickles you right from the start, as the guitar playing vocalist sings a catchy folk tune about how, when he was a kid, his father instilled in him a life-long love of music by building him a "cookie-tin banjo" with rubber band strings and a strap made from an old necktie.
In the next song, he's ten years old and figuring out how he, his dad and his two brothers can be The Beatles (mom is Linda) and have a career where all the reviews are great and all the M&M's are brown.
And even though his 15-song, 70 minute performance never strays far from a child-like sense of optimistic buoyancy, there are some heavy topics to cover, including mental illness, being abandoned by a lover in a time of need and a bout with cancer. But Scheuer clings to music as his defense against sorrow and, as directed by Sean Daniels, presents himself to the audience as an unassuming, self-effacing troubadour.
Connected by short stretches of narration, the casual, conversational lyrics of his folk/rock score have an understated cleverness. Though they all keep the story moving, most of them can (and should) be enjoyed outside of their dramatic contexts.
To say much more would risk giving away some delightful surprises, the biggest of which is that a one-person musical can be this engaging, heartwarming and thoroughly enjoyable.