FRINGE 2015 — Tacking a Tower of Song

By Jay Menard

If you like Leonard Cohen, then Lara Loves Leonard is clearly a show for you. And in addition to reminding you why you love Leonard in the first place, you may find yourself developing a little musical crush on Lara MacMillan herself.

The show is stark in its simplicity. Just MacMilllan, standing on a stage, with only a music stand in front of her. Next to her is a black-draped stool, with a single red flower in a vase.

That’s it. And it works.

It works because MacMillan is incredibly listenable. She reads a Cohen poem, then follows with a song. Then repeat for an hour. She described it as a cabaret-style show, but it’s much more than that by being much less.

Cohen is the perfect artist to cover in a stark, all-black room. With only light accompaniment (and no other musicians) you’re left to focus on her voice. And through that, the listener is compelled to consider the lyrics.

Cohen is a poet in every sense of the word, and stripped of all artifice, the lyrics resonate on a deeper, more powerful level.

While it could serve as a great introduction to Cohen — performed by a pleasant and genial singer — this show is clearly designed for fans of Leonard.

This opening weekend review has been posted on behalf of Theatre in London.ca (http://theatreinlondon.ca/).

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