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THEATRE REVIEW: YASGUR’S FARM as part of FRINGE WORLD FESTIVAL, PERTH

| 16 February 2018 | Reply

THEATRE REVIEW: YASGUR’S FARM as part of FRINGE WORLD FESTIVAL, PERTH
By Shane Pinnegar

Josie Marchant takes the stage for Fringe World’s YASGUR’S FARM looking the part to a tee – flowing, garishly floral dress, acoustic guitar, long, slightly unkempt locks – and proceeds to tell us the story of the little festival that changed the world, Woodstock.

Held at the titular farm in Woodstock, New York on 15-17 August 1969, Woodstock was promoted as ‘Three days of peace, love and music’, and organisers expected around fifty thousand people to buy tickets. Instead, they got over 400,000, most of whom never paid after the event was declared free, and the majority of which co-habited together happily with barely any food, water or amenities available.

Marchant explores not only the music of Woodstock, but also the social reasons it became an iconoclastic brand for the summer of love, and a demarcation of social change in our lifetime. Racism, sexism, youth finding their voice, empowered by the bold new wave of rock music and drugs.

Rooted in folk music to start, Marchant and her band give us some faithful Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, but it’s when she kicks out the jams and rocks out to Jefferson Airplane’s psych classics Somebody To Love and White Rabbit, a sensational, show stopping Janis Joplin’s Piece Of My Heart, and Joe Cocker’s take on The Beatles’ A Little Help From My Friends that it really gets going.

The show has a few teething problems – first night nerves resulted in a couple of missed cues and notes an awkward attempt at an over-complicated singalong was ill-advised; and there are some pacing issues, with a lesser-known Joplin song closing the show where a classic would have far better served.

Marchant inhabits the story and the music with heart and soul, and her storytelling and fantastic singing, and the band’s enthusiasm won the day, delivering the peace and love message strong and true.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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