Vancouver East Cultural Centre
Time After Time: The Chet Baker Project

Venue: Vancouver East Cultural Centre
11 -15 February 2003

Reviewer: Ed Farolan

James O'Reilly's play about Chet Baker is truly appropriate for Valentine's Day. So for those folks who love jazz, particularly West Coast cool jazz, drop by and you will be entertained by the great rendition of songs such as "Time After Time," "My Funny Valentine," and other romantic classics popularized by Chet Baker, and aptly acted by Toronto-based jazz trumpeteer and vocalist, Danny DePoe.

What O'Reilly does in his "project" is put himself in the character of "Ted" who narrates the life story of Chet Baker and dialogues with people involved in his life: Russ Freeman, Halema, William Claxton, Ruth Young, Carol Baker, and others.

Director Jim Millan did an excellent job getting song and dialogue going, and performances by Philippa Domville and Shaun Smyth who played different characters in this play were just powerful. Domville's portrayal of Ruth Young was flawless, and I enjoyed Smith's rendition of Romano Mussolini. There was a very warm and enthusiastic applause from the opening night audience (practically a full house) for a show well done.

The playwright initiated his project seven years ago in Ottawa, and picked up ideas for his play from Ross Porter's CBC radio broadcast of Chet's biography, Too Beautiful, as well as from Bruce Weber's documentary Let's Get Lost. The show premiered at the Grat Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa in December 1998.

© 2003, Ed Farolan