By Jay Menard
Woody Sed examines the life and times of Woody Guthrie, his experiences, and the songs that were inspired by them. Thomas Jones does an admirable job trying to embody a couple of dozen characters who come in and out of the noted wanderer’s life.
It’s a warts-and-all look at Guthrie, from his early dust bowl days to his eventual silencing from Huntington’s Disease. Along the way, we travel along with Guthrie as he moves west, leaving families and wives in his wake, en route to New York. He gets introduced to communism and develops his voice — one that’s eventually silenced by Huntington’s.
There are a lot of characters in this 60-minute play and Jones gamely tries to give each and every one his or her own flavour and depth. Some work better than others, but overall it’s an entertaining presentation of Guthrie’s life and music.
The music, and Jones’ interpretation of it, are the clear highlights of the play. Jones is clearly very comfortable with a guitar and moves from speaking, to strumming, to singing, and back with ease and dexterity. It’s a joy to watch, even if the play is, at times, uneven.
For fans of Woody Guthrie, Woody Sed is a must see. For others, it’s a pleasant presentation, but some of the finer nuances may be lost.
*** — three stars out five
This review was originally posted on theatreinlondon.ca.