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Vancouver Fringe Festival review: There Ain't No More

Straight 2019-09-10 20:31:44

Willi Carlisle is a ferocious talent who’s as deft a performer as he is a musician. The artist plays five instruments on stage, with impressive skill, and within the first 10 minutes, it’s clear that this isn’t your typical musical Fringe show.

Carlisle, who is also the playwright, brings to life an aging folksinger grappling with his mortality. His concerns are interwoven, many the result of the ongoing colonial and immigrant-settler violence of America. As he looks back, the folksinger confronts things such as his PTSD from Vietnam; the grinding, inescapable poverty of the rural south; and the only salvation he’s ever known—folk music.

Carlisle’s smart script is full of beautiful lines and observations—"singin’ the symptom is not the cure”. And it’s the best kind of love letter to American folk culture because it holds the genre accountable for its sometimes problematic roots, while still appreciating the art that’s arisen from the hearts and minds of its people.