BWW Review: Off-Mirvish's BOOM is an Impressive Undertaking

3 out of 5 stars

Rick Miller's new show, Boom, now playing the Panasonic theatre via the off-Mirvish season is an impressive undertaking for Miller - who through his two hour one man show, shows audiences he has chutzpah galore but doesn't leave them completely satisfied.

Miller is an incredible talent, who many might know as the man who entertained school children with a The Simpsons version of Macbeth (titled MacHomer). In that show, he explains the Shakespeare play using all the Simpsons characters we know and love - performing all the voices. He tries replicating that in Boom, but the problem is - impersonating real people is a lot harder than cartoons, and Miller's take on many of the icons of the 40's, 50's, and 60's didn't resonate with me. Miller likely anticipated this, for throughout the show his iconic impersonations have projected names above him.

He ties in the history of the period with personal stories from his mother, father, and man his mother had slept with while a student at the University of Toronto. He manages to combine the history and personal stories brilliantly, but I found myself enjoying the personal stories far more than his history lesson and imitations of iconic people.

Boom sounds great on paper, but clocking in at two hours with intermission - it feels a long and stretched out. Many other performers do impressions of iconic singers, and do them better than Miller. I think the show would have been better served by focusing on the personal stories and keeping the history and music to a minimum. Miller is a great story teller - and it's what he is best at and when Boom really shines.

The production is visually impressive, and projections are used wonderfully to paint the stage.

Boom has a lot of potential, but feels more like an experiment in theatre than a finished product. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's great that we're seeing some experimental theatre in a Mirvish venue, and with some work - I think Boom could become as big a hit, or even bigger than MacHomer.

Boom plays the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto from January 15 - February 1, 2015. Tickets are available now at Mirvish.com.




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From This Author Alan Henry

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