Three years ago, Montreal theatregoers were dazzled by “Boom”, Rick Miller’s breathless, multimedia journey into the people, events and pop culture that made up the post-World War II Baby Boomer generation.
And how did Miller follow up this exciting episode of time travelling? By putting together a sequel that is just as breathtaking, just as spectacular and just as fun as the original. “Boom X”, which is playing at the Segal Centre until March 10, explores the 25-year period between 1970 and 1995 in the same way as “Boom”, only this time he focusses on the era that nurtured Generation X.
This show is like a newsreel that’s ratcheted up several notches, as Miller takes the reins as your guide to this rather turbulent, change-filled era in modern history. He starts off with a sort-of prelude in 1969 by acting out Jimi Hendrix’s famous electric guitar interpretation of the Star Spangled Banner, as he shows the best (Woodstock) and the worst (Altamont, the Manson murders) of what the final year of the 1960s offered.
From there, Miller gives a more personal touch to “Boom X” as he relates his own growing up in NDG during that period, as well as conducting interviews with four people he knew, and how the events of that period shaped and influenced their thinking and career paths as they became Gen Xers in their own right. Through his boundless energy, comic ability and his strong talent for mimicry, Miller takes the audience on a nonstop, whirling dervish of a historical panorama of 25 years that shaped modern history and the people and events that shaped it, such as Pierre Trudeau, Ronald Reagan, Rene Levesque, Mikhail Gorbachev, disco music, video games, grunge music, the Montreal Expos, Star Wars and so much more.
As well, I credit Miller for his uncanny ability of not only relating to his audience on an intimate level, but holding their attention for this two-hour plus spectacular. This was marvellously exemplified with one little performance piece he did just prior to the intermission, in which he performed with his guitar the top 20 hit songs of 1984 in two minutes, and encouraged the audience members to shout out the song title(s) in question if they knew it (it made for some great exercise for the brain).
“Boom X” is a wonderful blockbuster of time travelling (which leaves Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s Wayback Machine miles behind in the dust), which makes me eager to find out what is up Rick Miller’s sleeve with the upcoming third and final installment of his Boom trilogy. If we want to get a vivid, enjoyable understanding of our modern world was and is all about – and the culture that went with it – let Rick Miller tell that story through his “Boom” shows; it’s living history at its entertaining best.
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In other Segal Centre news, the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre (DWYT) will present an all new sing-along show to celebrate Purim called “Harmonies & Homentashn” on March 24 for two performances at its Segal Centre Studio venue; show times are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Join in with a number of the Yiddish Theatre’s singers and performers – as well as KlezKanada – for a selection of festive holiday songs that will be sung in English, Hebrew and of course, Yiddish. Tickets are $25, with special rates available for students, seniors, subscribers and groups.
Also, following its sold out run at last year’s Montreal Fringe Festival, the critically-acclaimed production “Don’t Read the Comments” will be remounted for a limited engagement at the Segal Centre. It will run for five performances on March 6, 7, 9 and 10. Written by and starring Sarah Segal-Lazar, “Don’t Read the Comments” is set in a TV talk show, the play deals with such subject matters of sexual encounters and consent, and is told via storytelling and the dark arts of clown and bouffon.