Bluefinger: Rock & Roll Tragedy, One Comic Moment At A Time

Categories: Live Shots

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Pnotos by Anthony Rathbun/ Courtesy of Catastrophic Theatre
Matt Kelly (prone) and Troy Schulze as Herman Brood and Koos
Plenty of rock stars have shown that there's a fine line between fuck-up and folk hero. Herman Brood, the central figure of Catastrophic Theatre's Bluefinger, doesn't bother with that line - or any other kind of line besides the ones you can snort.

As played by former Sprawl and Middlefinger front man Matt Kelly, Brood is both child-like and callous, one great big id shining from speed and lit by vodka. A walking contradiction straight out of Kris Kristofferson's "The Pilgrim, Chapter 33," in other words.

Brood would never intentionally hurt a fly, it seems, but he's almost oblivious to the hurt his words and actions sometimes cause those closest to him, someone whose charisma and talents are so great that those in his immediate orbit don't mind cleaning up the slug-like trail of messes he leaves in his wake.


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Told mostly as a series of production numbers and interviews, Bluefinger traces Brood's evolution (or non-evolution, really) from his first rock-star twitchings to the strains of Jim Croce's "Operator" in an Amsterdam coffeehouse circa 1973 to the aftermath of his 2001 suicide. Acting and sounding like an amalgamation of Elvis, Sid Vicious, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, Brood is a tragic figure, no doubt.

But as directed by Jason Nodler and acted by the Catastrophic company - including Rocks Off's colleague Troy Schulze as Koos, the long-suffering manager and fellow "farm boy" who is occasionally able to cut through all the booze and drugs and talk a modicum of sense into his obstinate, substance-addled client - Brood's life is told as a series of comic moments and over-the-top performances that add up to an ending so genuinely moving - devastating, even - that it's impossible to see coming, never mind that it's been foreshadowed from the very beginning of the play.

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