Reviews: Artword Theatre production Stuart Laughton’s Trumpet Romance

Review by Channah Cohen in View
In Trumpet Romance, currently playing at Artword Theatre, Stuart Laughton, trumpet player and musician extraordinaire, takes his audience on what he affectionately calls “a wild journey in search of music.” Using narration, musical instruments (trumpets, guitar, harmonica), and a series of projected images, Laughton does, in fact, take us on a journey that is not only entertaining and filled with gentle self–irony and humour. It is also profoundly moving and ultimately challenges us to look beyond the obvious in music and to experience its very essence. The journey itself is well crafted (by Laughton and Weihs), starting with what becomes ultimately a question: “Bon Vivant.” What, indeed, is a “bon vivant”?
In Laughton’s case, he falls in love with the trumpet as a child, exploring the possibilities of the sound he—and the instrument––can make. Playing music becomes his life, leading to a distinguished career on the concert stage, but the world of concert halls, where the beauty of music can triumph (we witness a gorgeous moment in La Scala), that beauty can also become undermined by human pride, self–interest. Besides, music is not simply an ornament for the life of the “bon vivant,” not a cultural indulgence. Instead, as Louis Armstrong said about jazz: “You can even live by it.” Classical, blues, jazz, rock, experimental—music is not simply to be consumed but to enter into. And so we accompany Laughton to Murray Schafer’s Patria Project in the Haliburton wilds and we listen and watch as music finds its echo among the trees, in the air, in the life force that transcends everything. For that is what “Bon Vivant” means.
Trumpet Romance is an extraordinary experience: beautifully put together, performed, and not to be missed.(CC

Gary Smith in The Hamilton Spectator

“The man has stories to tell, and he tells them in his hour-long Trumpet Romance: a wild journey in search of music…. The stories are told with affection and candour, punctuated by some glorious trumpet sounds…. Ron Weihs’ direction never gets in the way of Laughton’s honesty.”
Gary Smith of The Hamilton Spectator reviews Artword Theatre’s Trumpet Romance, at BYOV Artword Artbar.
Also reviewed is Rise of the the Prickly Pear (also at Artword Artbar), and two of the mini gallery shows around the corner on James Street. Paula Grove, a long-standing member of the Artword Theatre Ensemble who appeared recently in “James Street” and “Scroogissimo”, get a warm accolade from Gary for her show There Was and There Was Not.

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