Every writer-performer who aspires to craft a solo piece out of personal experience should see Randy Rutherford’s show to find out how a master does it.
The California-based Rutherford is a fringe elder in his mid-60s. He’s been bringing music-laced memoirs, including this one, to Winnipeg for 15 years. His singing voice has weakened a bit, but the funny and moving 75-minute story of how he began to go deaf while working as a folksinger — and dating an angelic girl — in 1970s Alaska is still, to quote a previous Free Press review, heart-rendingly beautiful. His evocation of place is breathtaking, and he knows how to make his experiences of loss and isolation universal.
I’m docking Rutherford half a star for plugging DVDs from the stage at the end, which weakens the resonance of his story. I could have sworn the show used to conclude with Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right. It didn’t, but I was moved to tears nonetheless.
— Alison Mayes