Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Call Mr Robeson at Garter Lane

 Tayo Aluko has travelled the world since 2007 telling  the story of Paul Robeson, the black American singer and actor and activist. He arrived at the Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford on International Human Rights Day. He was most sympathetically accompanied by Cork based pianist, Michael Young. In addition to relatively straightforward song accompaniment, there was a lot of underscoring of script of an improvisatory nature.  You can read the eminent Guardian theatre critic, Michael Billington's review here 

At the close of the thought provoking show, Tayo Aluko conducted a Q& A. Had anyone ever heard him live. Yes, one patron volunteered, her parents had seen Robeson in London while on honeymoon. Newly wed and all, her mother  was smitten. On the singer's death, this lady had sent a letter of condolence to Robeson's only son adding her reminiscences of her parents's experience and was very touched when Robeson Jnr  had sent a lovely letter in response to  her, no celebrity, but a lowly typing pool worker in a London firm. . At each venue a programme note with musings and social commentary on recent events highlighted  resonance between the  stage and current Irish events updated at each venue. Kilkenny version in link. This story could be and has been told in the from of a 2D TV documentary. But one man standing in front of you   telling the story with passion and commitment lives  far longer in the memory . Mr Aluko chatted and signed autographs after the shoe. Although he has traveled far  telling the stroy for a long time , he seemed as fresh and enthusiastic greeting Waterford theatre goers as if it was a premiere. He did four shows in Ireland.  It wouldn't surprise me at all to see this show returning for a few more Irish dates. Watch out for it. 

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