Here in the ‘Stafford shires’, the city of Lichfield is currently in the middle of it’s annual celebration of music, dance, drama and comedy, the Lichfield Festival. This year, a show calledÂ ‘Johnny’s Midnight Goggles‘ caught my eye, performed by a talented singer/actor/cellist Matthew Sharp and written by Peter M Wyer (SharpWire).
The programme described it as ‘Tim Burton meets John Adams, Arnold Schwarzenegger meets Edith Piaf, Philip Pullman meets Paganini. Witty, nail-biting and entrancing music theatre with goggles on!’ Well that’s gotta be worth a look!
I think due to the fact the show was on a Friday night at 9.45pm – not exactly the friendliest time to put on a show (the fault of the Lichfield Festival committee not the performer) – there was only a small audience of people in the Lichfield Garrick studio. However, it did make for a nice intimate atmosphere, and Matthew Sharp even came out and played some Bach on the cello while we were wait for people to arrive, telling us to ‘just relax and keep chatting – think of me as background music at a wedding’. Even though it was meant as a piece of light background music, it was difficult not to be impressed at his superb musicianship.
Once the show proper started, Sharp starts to tell the wonderfully surreal story of his friend Johnny, a black camel, some magical goggles, and alternate universes. All done with aid of his booming bass-baritone voice, amazing cellist skill, a few lighting effects, and a nice lady with a Macbook Pro. I’ve been trying to think of a way explain the performance anymore than that… A one man opera with surrealism, comedy, and cello? A crazy adventure told through song & strings, and superb storytelling? Both statements are true, but really ‘Johnny’s Midnight Goggles‘ is something you need to experience for yourself to fully appreciate it’s genius and quality.
I enjoyed ‘Johnny’s Midnight Goggles‘ so much that last night i went to see ‘Finkelstein’s Castle’ a sequel of sorts, also performed Matthew Sharp and written by Peter M Wyer which was equally brilliant. If either show comes near to your town, they’re well worth going to see for an evening of wonderfully surreal adventure.