With chemistry that snapped and popped through the phone line in our interview last week, David Sherman and Nancy Lee did not disappoint in delivering an intimate and relatable experience in their musical play Lost & Found Friday night at the Piccolo Rialto Theatre.
Before you go thinking, oh great, a musical with random breaking into song and rosy stories, stop. First of all, that would have been awesome, too. Second, more importantly, this musical is more like a concert with vignettes that carry the narrative and connect the songs. Plus, they were backed by the incredible and storied musicians of the Stephen Barry Blues Band.
As characters Vic and Trish, the real life couple walked onto the stage, held hands and connected with each other before turning to the audience and beginning the show. It was a peek at something personal and warm, and this feeling remained all night. Sherman and Lee maintain that the play is a fictionalized version of their own love story, but in spite of changed names (and likely some details), much of their performance feels like glimpses into a real developing romance. With battered and bruised hearts, both characters had turned/returned to music in mid-life. After meeting at an open mic night in a small town outside of Montreal, the two begin a personal and musical relationship that calms the storm in their souls and ultimately leads to the creation of Lost & Found.
Was this road to love all sunshine and rainbows? Most certainly not. Vic had trouble letting go of his anger at his sanity-challenged ex. After losing her husband, Tricia was trying to manage a new life for herself, her young adult daughter, and struggled to take care of herself and a downward spiraling Vic. This is the stuff the blues are written about! And they did. Vic sings Bed of Rusty Nails, a sweet sounding melody with lyrics so vengeful and full of loathing that it conveys a quiet, dark and seething anger. I could picture the words being written alone in the dark, fueled by Vic’s (Sherman’s?) favourite blended whiskey. Tricia delivers a plaintive tune about reaching the end of her rope loving and supporting Vic, with lines the like of “…now I’m so damn tired of being in love with you.” Her delivery left no doubt about how she felt.
Writing that stood out for me was a scene after the pair had met and were exchanging emails. They “air typed” at one another, and it made for a very cute back and forth that both moved the story along and gave insight into the characters. Grand Marnier Kisses was a sultry song that made me sit up and take notice of both her lyrics and Lee’s chops as a vocalist. It tells of Tricia’s foray into the single life of dating and one night stands after being widowed. I won’t mince words, this is a very sexy song that conveys the desire and longing of a liquored first meeting of lovers.
Lee and Sherman each have their strengths that complement one another well. Lee’s vocals were really fantastic – she emotes, has range and some powerful pipes. The crowd chortled at Sherman’s quips and one liners. Together, they made some lovely harmonies. Was it perfect? No, but maybe a little perfect in it’s imperfection. Is it worth the trip out in this cold for a great date night? Absolutely! If you haven’t been to the resurrected Rialto Theatre yet, this is a great chance to check it out. Make time, make plans.
*A brief post script shout out is warranted to praise Joanna at Phyllo Bar Melina’s next to the theater. Not having eaten and with only 20 minutes to show time, she was very kind and generous to remain open late and make one delicious Melina’s sandwich for me and pizza for my hubby. Thank you so much!
Lost & Found at Piccolo Rialto Theatre (5711 Ave. du Parc) from February 11 to February 21. Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., February 15 and 21 at 2 p.m. $25 reg, $20 students/seniors, $17 groups of 6 +, 2 for 1 Valentine’s Day when purchased in advance, both matinees are Pay-What-You-Can.