Hawksley Workman’s The God That Comes is one of the most innovative, mesmerizing pieces I’ve seen in a very long time.
Creative and provocative, Workman’s musicianship is equalled by the simple, yet intriguing story.
The tale of the god, the king and his mother is an exploration of the relationship between mother and son; rules and rebellion; lust and … well, more lust.
The Belfry Theatre audience was considerably younger than usual and perhaps some had imbibed just a bit more than the normal crowd, but that is part of SPARK fest’s allure, its ability to draw more than just the regulars with two weeks of unique – and many free – shows.
The performance by Workman was also a draw, attracting many fans of his music that may not have previously been regular theatre goers.
The God That Comes, written and directed by Christian Barry, comes with a warning that it contains mature subject matter, beautiful loud music, explicit language, sexual imagery and “other naughty ideas.”
It’s those naughty ideas that drive this piece forward with a degree of passion that ranges from hilarious to slightly unsettling. The music is raw and real and leaves a taste of The Who’s classic Rock Opera Tommy on the tongue. With a nod to Euripides’ The Bacchae, the work is both tragic and comic putting gods, kings and mothers on a pedestal, then neatly knocking them down.
An accomplished multi-instrumentalist and Juno Award winner, Workman is at ease on stage and with the audience, even offering a “bless you” when someone sneezed. He is engaging, ribald and magnetic to watch.
Though it’s Workman who blazes across the stage for the 75-minute performance, the fire is fuelled by choreographer Monica Dottor, a six-time Dora Mavor Moore Award nominated actor and choreographer, whose work in this case is flawless. With sound design by Jesse Ash and sound mixing and operating by Todd Lumley, a member of Workman’s live performance group who does a spot-on job, The God That Comes is an evening of wine, women and song that you won’t soon forget.
The God That Comes is on at the Belfry to March 21.