Bremner Duthie’s one-man show is set during the depression at a time when vaudeville theatre is being pushed out to make way for cinema. Should you see it?
What I loved about Hard Times was the music and performance. Bremner Duthie has a commanding voice for the old-timey standards-type music he was belting out –which is a style I love- and he’s also an incredible showman in the true vaudevillian sense.
What I didn’t enjoy so much is that, honestly, this is a really depressing show. The dawn of the cinema means the death of vaudeville and our about-to-be-fired and depressed performer laments being pushed out as the theatre makes way for the cinema. Our performer mopes around for a bit until he decides he’s going to go out with a bang and kill himself. Then was spend the rest of the show with him as he tries and sings and tries and sings, and it’s just a real downer. Don’t get me wrong, there are some laughs along the way, but over all it’s pretty much a downer and the depressing character drowned out any message about the arts that might have been trying to get across in those first few minutes.
I would absolutely pay to see Bremner Duthie play a similar character in an upbeat show if he puts one together, and if he throws some of the music up on iTunes, I’d grab that shit in a heartbeat, but I’d definitely caution anybody who told me they were going to see Hard Times that it’s not exactly going to be an uplifting experience. Hard Times sits with a hard three.
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