Review-The Double Bass-Brave Heart Theatre


By: Stephanie Ip


Walking into the Premium Sofa Club where The Double Bass was showing felt like walking into someone’s cozy living room. Sinking into comfortable sofas and armchairs, we were quickly greeted with cold Eastern European beer, while actor Neil Art, already in character, walked around the room talking to early audience members, welcoming them to the Hong Kong Double Bass Appreciation Society. 


The play, adapted from an original script by Patrick Suskind (before he wrote his most popular work Perfume) is a one-man monologue by a musician who plays the double bass in the local orchestra. 


The play starts off as a lecture in the musician’s soundproofed apartment, just before he leaves for the opening night of Rheingold. While drinking beer with the audience, Neil speaks of his love for the colossal instrument. He shares anecdotes, brags about the bass being the foundation of classical music, before slowly and uncontrollably revealling more and more about his rather dismal life, down to the fact that he’s secretly in love with a mezzo-soprano and that he isn’t actually a very good musician. 


The play creates a great juxtaposition between the aristocratic world of classical music and the lowly musician, who oten feels misplaced and under-appreciated, in the orchestra pit as well as in real life. What I quite liked about the show is that you don’t have to understand the double bass, be a musician or even be familiar with classical works to understand the underlying themes of the play and the quintessential needs for every human being: being noticed, being loved, and being worthwhile. 


A one-hour monologue with no supporting actors and no set to speak of (one man, a double bass, and lots of sponsored beer) might sound like a painful lot of time to sit through, but this production worked because of two things: Neil is a pretty good actor and double bass player; but what really made the show work was the venue. I loved how Neil was able to weave through the sofas, sit and speak with us, and incorporate our presence into the show. It felt as if we really were attending an appreciation gathering or even a Double Bass 101 class. The venue was so homey and intimate, it didn’t feel like theatre at all. It felt like just another night out with great friends, booze and music, ranting about life and all the misfortunes it has bestowed on us.

The Double Bass is playing through November 7th. For more information, click here. 


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.0


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