Rick Miller’s return to the Nation’s Capital is trumpeted with a resounding sound as he bounds onto the National Arts Centre English Theatre stage with an energetic euphoria in his one man show Boom. Boom spans the period of the early 1940’s to the late 1960’s delving into the political, social and artistic spectrum of the Baby Boomer Generation and how it’s come to shape future generations in its innovations.
Boom is told through the eyes of three main characters, Laurence, a rhythm and blues performer out of Chicago, Illinois, Madelaine, a Baby Boomer out of Cobourg, Ontario, and Rudy, a man born a few years too early to be a boomer who hailed from Vienna but eventually settled in Montreal, QC. The stories of these three characters intertwine throughout the turbulent decades with the backdrop of political, social and civil revolutions set to an amazing soundtrack that spoke volumes for what a generation wanted to say and the impacts that they were able to make for the future.
Rick Miller has unparalleled energy in his performances on stage. I must say performances, as Miller is a character actor who channels, not every single character on stage, but every single performer, whether it’s the mimicking of a radio ad from the 1950’s, an operatic musical number sung between Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd, or the number of musical icons he parades on stage.
In Miller’s own words Boom is a play that begins and ends with an actual boom, from the dropping of the first atomic bomb to the moon landing, this play, filled with socially and culturally relevant history feels far from an actual scholastic lesson and comes across as a series of interconnecting stories that allow the audience to relive their glory days, or feel that perhaps, they were born into the wrong generation.
Everything about this theatrical endeavor is on point. From the lighting cues to the musical pieces, this journey through decades long past, is brought to life through extensive use of multimedia and an ongoing sound and lights show that even Miller takes a back seat to from time to time. While Miller, who is going a mile a minute on stage for the entire duration of the show, is the main highlight, there is no way that this show, in any sort of capacity, is nearly handled with as much delicate care as it was, without the precise and guiding touches of a superb team backstage, especially with David Leclerc as the Production Designer and Bruno Matte as the Lighting Designer.
The only qualm I have with Boom is barely a big qualm at all. There’s an intermission. The show doesn’t need an intermission. Its high energy from start to finish and the intermission actually slows down the pace of the show. It took a while to get back into the series of stories that Miller explores after the intermission, but I understand it’s importance, mainly for Miller, who probably needs a break to rehydrate, and also for the Baby Boomer’s in the audience whose bladder’s may not sustain themselves as long as they used to.
Intermission or not, Boom is one of those theatrical performances that you cannot miss. Boom is a standing ovation well deserved.
Boom runs at The National Arts Centre English Theatre until March 12, 2016. Get your tickets, or more information about the play, here.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d like to know what you think. Are you a Baby Boomer? If so was this a nostalgic journey for you? If not, what was the most interesting part of this historical time that you learned about from Boom? Join the discussion in the comments below.