BWW Review: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at Menz And Mollyz Bar
Opening night for the Halifax tour stop of Hedwig and the Angry Inch took place last night at Menz and Mollyz bar. This small-scale production carries itself in a mighty way that is perfect to ring in the pride events happening in Halifax.
With text by John Cameron Mitchell and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, Hedwig is a memorable show of grit, resiliency and glamour. The story opens in concert form as we meet Hedwig, the internationally ignored German musician who underwent a botched procedure leaving her with an "Angry Inch". Living under the shadow of her famous ex-lover Tommy Gnosis performing in front of thousands, Hedwig performs to an intimate crowd who may or may not have chosen to be there. Through rock-inspired songs, we learn about Hedwig's transformative journey to find her other half during the diminishing of the Berlin wall.
Directed by Margot Begin (a fellow Nova Scotian!), the show is perfectly suited for intimate theatres. Compared to the 2014 revival at the Belasco theatre that sat just over 1000 patrons, this production lets the audience be immersed into Hedwig's world. We feel equal to Hedwig and can relate to her as we are physically and even emotionally on her level. What I enjoyed about this show is that the only beauty on the stage is that of Hedwig. You can only focus on her presence without distraction. The simplicity of not having extravagant sets and props added to the notion that we are there for Hedwig and her world is built through what comes out of her.
Entering Menz and Mollyz, you can tell Hedwig marked her territory before she stormed onto the stage. Glass of champagne made me thirsty to see her performance, wig 'out of the box' hanging up and shiny streamers to represent some glamour.
Truro-born actor Andrew Morrisey played the titular role. He commanded the stage with his stellar voice. Morrisey literally tore down the bar during the opening number. His ability to embrace a fierce, sassy and struggling character seemed effortless. Morrisey brings a rare electricity that is powered by vulnerability and glitter. Hedwig is a difficult role but he was able to flawlessly balance the character's seductive moves and humour with heart on sleeve emotions. Some actors are born to play a role - Morrisey was meant for Hedwig. Move over, Neil!
The saying goes that no two performances are alike. Especially true for Hedwig as she clearly did her research on Nova Scotia! Referencing Dartmouth, Anne Murray, the Halifax Explosion and local attractions made her even more relatable. Even better coming from a Nova Scotian born actor. Honestly, I wish I could be there in P.E.I. to see what she thinks of Anne of Green Gables.
There are many events occurring this weekend in Halifax during Pride. If you can only choose three, let this be at the top of your list! You'll be laughing, crying and singing along the entire time. The show will be in Halifax until July 20th at Menz and Mollyz bar. The next tour stops will be in Charlottetown, PEI and Toronto, Ontario.
Photo Credit: Lauren Purdy LaRusic.