Kurt | Justin Burford and Good Egg Creative

Kurt | Justin Burford and Good Egg CreativeKurt Donald Cobain (1967-1994), the restless, fragile, and inspired frontman of Nirvana is regarded by fans as the rock-and-roll genius of his generation. To Gen-X he was a musical messiah, but to others (mostly parents) he was a pest, a nihilist, and a slacker.

How is this so? The answer is probably found in Cobain himself. As an artist and a man Cobain embodied everything dysfunctional and misunderstood about the encounter between generations. In his case it was the Baby Boomers vs. Generation X, but listening to his songs today it could be any generation. The songs feel timeless. This isn’t just because Nirvana is still in our musical soundscape. It is because Cobain’s songs, in their intensity and instability, are profoundly romantic. Filled as they are with vulnerability, with fidelity for feeling, and with – at times – unrestrained anger, Cobain’s music is overwhelmingly adolescent; a set of dramatic extremes – an interplay of definition and discovery; both surreal and intimate.

That authentic sensibility probably consumed Cobain (he committed suicide at the appallingly young age of 27), as it did a great many other Romantics, but not before he recorded some of the best music of his generation. He still towers over the 90’s, a tragic icon and true romantic.

In Kurt, he is resurrected and honored. Justin Burford doesn’t simply cover Cobain, he embodies him in a mimetic show which fuses storytelling and music to extraordinary effect. Equal parts concert and confession, Kurt triumphs. Drawing on Cobain’s taped and written diaries Burford tells the story of a man coming to terms with his upbringing, his feelings, talent, and fame. It’s a sad story. Fortunately Phil Ceberano, Nick Sinclair, and Ben Isackson help Burford out of a tragic monologue with regular musical interludes. These are performed with exacting precision on a minimalist rock-stage and capture both the nuances and dynamics of the originals. The drawback, if there is one, is in the awkward marriage of grunge-rock and theatrette, which limited the sort of riotous dancing (and applause) the show deserved.

Justin Burford and Good Egg Creative in association with Hayes Theatre Co presents
Conceived and performed by Justin Burford

Venue: Hayes Theatre Co | 19 Greenknowe Ave Potts Point
Dates: 18 – 19 June 2015
Tickets: $40 – $35
Bookings: www.hayestheatre.com.au | 02 8065 7337

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