AN UNFORGETTABLE PERFORMANCE
Chet Baker was a bit of an ass. Despite all his amazing music, his gritty real life story, played out by David Goldthorpe in Like Someone in Love, the life and death of Chet Baker surely paints him in an unforgiving light.
Like Someone in Love, written and performed by Goldthorpe was part of the Auckland Fringe Festival, and at times, it was a performance that made me swoon.
Goldthorpe, a tall handsome blonde, perfectly emulated Baker's cool jazz style of the 50s, and his American accent was spot on.
The show started with Baker at the peak of his drug addiction, when he was violently attacked in the 1960s, the attack left him toothless and unable to play trumpet for three years. Goldthorpe's wild, wide-eyed rambling at 100 miles an hour and energetic gestures while describing this incidence set the energy levels for this performance. Accompanied only by a three piece band and with sparse props (a bed, coffee table laden with pill bottles, a phone and syringes) Goldthorpe owned that stage.
The play explored Baker's troubled life, without making any apologies for it, but at the same time, it brought in a sense of understanding as to the life of a junkie in the spotlight. Goldthorpe's vocals were incredible for My Funny Valentine, his smooth, controlled, heart-rending rendition made me melt a little inside.
Baker's drug addiction and its consequences (jail time) were thoroughly exposed in this performance. A number of times Goldthorpe convincingly shot-up on stage - preparing the needle, getting the veins to bulge, the shakes and the euphoria made me wonder if he had really put something into his bloodstream.
The performance was built around renditions of Baker's songs, which gave them a whole new meaning, such as towards the end in Look For the Silver Lining as he happily pulled packets of heroin from his shoes, or My Buddy which he sung after talking about losing a friend who overdosed.
Like Someone in Love was an unforgettable performance by a very talented actor and singer. If it comes back for a second season, be sure to catch it.
Reviewed by Stacey Knott, IN UNISON
Monday March 16th, 2009