Charming and quite thoughtful, Assassinating Thomson wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be as it doesn’t talk too much about Tom Thomson. That’s not a bad thing though as Bruce Horak weaves a great yarn by combining his own life story with some of the mystery surrounding the famous Canadian painter.
Should you see it?
Going into Assassinating Thomson, I expected the play to largely be about, well, Tom Thomson. The title definitely gives you that impression. Instead, writer and performer Bruce Horak mostly tells his own life story and compares some of it to Thomson’s life while also talking about the various theories he has about how Thomson actually died. It’s a fun story, and I found myself just as interested in Horak’s life as I was in the death of Thomson.
For those who don’t know, Bruce Horak lost most of his eyesight due to cancer when he was still a baby. Today, he has only nine percent vision in one eye, and it’s cloudy at best. Yet, here he is performing on stage AND painting a portrait of the audience while he talks. The portrait itself, which we got to see at the conclusion of the show on its 8×10 canvas, is quite stunning. Putting on his prescription glasses and gazing at it is all the more fun.
The strength of this show is Horak himself. He simply talks to the audience in a very casual manner, which helps you become invested in his life. The actual theories around Thomson, which I won’t spoil, are fun as well, it’s just too bad they didn’t take up more of the show. But really, I’m just complaining based on my preconceptions. Assassinating Thomson is a lot of fun, and you should get out and see it as soon as you can.
But these are just my thoughts. What did you think of Assassinating Thomson? Let me know in the comments section below.