Friday, April 25, 2014

Raw Theatre presents Billy Bishop Goes to War

Relatively new-in-town theatre group, Raw, staged the musical "one man play", Billy Bishop Goes to War, this weekend at The Fridge. I absolutely loved it: great acting, great production, and great music.

The two acts of the play add up to about one and a half hours, during which seasoned British stage actor, James Gaddas, plays a Canadian air force veteran, the titular Billy Bishop, who narrates the story of how he came to be a star fighter pilot in World War I. This story is spellbinding, with many moments of poignancy and hilarity, told with poetic lucidity and detail. It was a time when air combat was still very new, so it's also a nice little historical trip into the golden age of this dimension of warfare.

Gaddas as Billy Bishop did a convincing Canadian accent, and jumped in and out of several roles -- across ages and genders, including voice and mannerisms -- without missing a beat. The pianist supporting him also did a great job supplying timely background music and sound effects, as well as singing in support. The music was very era-appropriate, and Gaddas' singing (including while playing other roles) was excellent. The minimal set and warm lighting were perfect too.

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