Reviews to help you through the hit-or-miss loveliness that is the Calgary Fringe Festival
MUSIC ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
Jacqueline Suzanne’s Bistro
August 2, 2011
I don’t play guitar, and I’m not a guitar aficionado, so this review comes with that provision in mind. However, as far as I can tell, Victoria-based Colin Godbout is a superb musician. His fingers travel the entire length of the guitar’s neck with ease and fluidity.
He calls his show Music on the Orient Express because it features music from composers who lived along the fabled train’s route from
The theme is instantly seductive, because just mentioning the name “Orient Express” brings with it a certain allure and mystique. If the truth be told, the theme is probably more exciting than the actual show itself.
Godbout’s hour-long show consists of compositions from the above-mentioned composers, including others such as Debussy, Satie, Brahms and Strauss. Of course, many of the pieces I didn’t recognize, but his arrangements all seem to have something of a Spanish, flamenco flavour to them.
He certainly plays the coolest version of Johann Strauss’s Blue Danube that I’ve ever heard, with even a touch of reggae to it.
Godbout asks the audience to vote on which composer is the best melody-maker. It’s funny how, in my mind anyway, “best” and “most familiar” became interchangeable terms. The pieces I liked best were the ones I actually recognized.
Music on the Orient Express offers a nice break from all the theatre at the Fringe and the setting of Jacqueline Suzanne’s Bistro is certainly conducive to the evening’s theme. It’s an absolutely lovely space, and its intimate, dark interior makes you think you actually could be on the storied train itself.
Godbout finishes his performance with some Turkish music accompanied by belly dancers.
There was one thing, however, that drove me crazy. Godbout was in silhouette against the window, and it was impossible for me to make out his features and his expressions as he played. His framing against the window was incredibly frustrating. He needs to be in another space in the restaurant, or the curtains need to be drawn, so people can actually see him.
Other than that, though, Music on the Orient Express offers a pleasant evening of classical music presented in an accessible format.
The show runs nightly through Saturday.