Sitting in the late show of Movin’ Melvin Brown’s A Man, A Magic, A Music, I glanced off and saw his silhouette projected against the side wall. Ten-feet tall. Larger than life. I knew that that was how I had to start this review because that’s the best way to describe him. Movin’ Melvin Brown has such a strong personality, he’s exploding with it in every word he says or sings, every tap he dances, every laugh he laughs.
A Man, A Magic, A Music, is a 90 minute gift from Movin’ Melvin, telling the stories of his life, cracking jokes, dancing up a storm, and singing. God, can this man sing.
At 72 and as spry as if he was a third that age, his career has spanned almost his entire life. From sneaking off to the night clubs in the 50s while barely in his teens to his years touring with a male dance company (read: strippers). Called the last of the great Song & Dance Men, he’s performed the songs of most every black musician you could name from the 50s through the 90s and he gives you the gift of singing many, many of them during the show. His Let The Saints Come Marching In had the audience on their feet dancing along, and his Unchained Melody gave me chills. I won’t even think to spoil the evening’s secret number.
He’s the real deal and even at the late show on only 4 hours sleep, the 90 minutes passed way too quickly. I sat there as the final song ended, thinking, “What, this is it?” It was enough.
The fact that he’s using his touring to raise awareness (and hopefully money) for his Change This World Project, to make the world a better place for everybody, is a bonus that only serves to reinforce the character the man holds.
I didn’t just enjoy A Man, A Magic, A Music, I was honoured and privileged for the chance to see it. I firmly believe that this is a show that could be charging $40-$60 and filling up Centrepointe Theatre or the Algonquin Commons. It’s a real treat that he’s brought his story and talent to the Ottawa Fringe Festival and $12 a ticket is a steal.
I can’t say much more than that.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. What were your favourite moments from the show? Join the discussion and let me know in the comments below.