Benjamin Scheuer had me with his first guitar riff. "The Lion" is the finest show we've seen all year, as well as the shortest. All those songs, all that grief and joy, a brilliant guitarist and singer, a story that ebbs and flows and then flows some more. Half a box of kleenex later you walk out of the theater and you look at your watch and realize the whole thing lasted less than forty five minutes. It's impossible. And yet -- I was there. And you should go too.
Scheuer wanders around the stage, playing different guitars, but, as good as he is, only three of them sound different (electric, small acoustic and the rest). They probably have different tunings, so that's why he does it, but…maybe a different sound now and then? Maybe we could even see that banjo?
OK, we're stretching it. Maybe he could sing in Swahili too. And his name has three vowels in a row.
Sometimes the reviewer needs to shut up. There is nothing in this show but pleasure. Go quickly! "The Lion" only runs until May 1.
RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG !
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "The Lion" its highest possible rating for a one man show: Four Stars with a BANGLE OF PRAISE AND AN EXPLANATION POINT! Ben Scheuer can write, play, sing and perform, and earns a Star for each one. The BANGLE is for the one song that touched us most: "You Make Me Laugh." This is one magnificent love song.
And Prince died today. You know? Music can indeed be transcendent and change our lives for the better. Keep going, Ben. You're on a roll.
A.C.T. Strand Theater
1127 Market Street, San Francisco
Through May 1