Tomorrow May Be My Last ★★★ Old Red Lion Theatre | Until May 6, 2023

In Tomorrow May Be My Last, Collette Cooper takes on some formidable tasks. She seeks to channel the great Janis Joplin in concert, to provide a biography of the singer, to create a Woodstock-like atmosphere in the theatre and to integrate these three elements. When doing a one-person tribute show the transition of moving from being the person in the moment to musing about the figure's previous life always proves a challenge. Cooper achieves this relatively well, but the monologue recounting Joplin's life and her traumas does sometimes seem heavy-handed, breaking the mood of the performance. Similarly, the creation of a concert atmosphere can be difficult. Audience participation usually achieves itself in a large festival venue, but in a smaller setting it can be problematic, if not uncomfortable, to try to coax it from a reticent group. The real strength of this show is Cooper's re-creation of Janis Joplin and her amazing vocals. The plaintive wail and frenzied movement that are the singer's trademarks are mesmerisingly realised. The experience is like having a front row seat at the performance of a lifetime. Most of the great songs are here, although we missed Joplin's rendition of "Summertime" and the satiric "Mercedes Benz." Too bad also, that "Piece of My Heart" was a sing-along; it would have been great to just sit back and hear Cooper belt it out. For fans of the legendary singer, this is a wonderful opportunity to hear her live once again. For those unacquainted with the rock diva, prepare to be enthralled.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Robin Pope.

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