PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
The Road Forward

Director, Writer & Producer Marie Clements Performers Michelle St. John, Jennifer Kreisberg and Cheri Maracle

Dates and Venue 28 and 29 January 2013, at 8pm | Heritage Hall, 2414 Main Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Karen Fitzgibbon

An amazing performance! It is a night of original concepts and enormous talents. The great song arrangements, new sounds, incredible voice ranges of the female singers, plus 3D visuals, made The Road Forward a smashing success.

The Road Forward is an Aboriginal rock, blues musical. It was created to honour the Native Brotherhood of BC and especially to honour the many missing and murdered Native women on the Highway of Tears. Many of these missing women were from Vancouver’s Eastside.

This evening’s sold out performance is entertainment at its best. I was impressed by the variety in the show. There is the colourfully attired native dancer in traditional native dress who dances right around the perimeter of the audience, musicians, singers and 3D images. The audience is made a part of the production simply by having the dancer in the audience and drummers who enter from the back of the theatre. 3D glasses were passed out to the audience individually while 3D native images appeared on the screen at the back of the stage.

The only criticism about the production that should be reviewed by production staff is that of a political statement that is made that could make any white man in the audience, of which there were many, uncomfortable. No one is responsible for what their ancestors did and didn’t do. We are accountable for our own mistakes and we should all learn from the mistakes made by our ancestors by making our own acts honourable. Yes, a call for social change through artistic expression is a good thing, but it should be expressed with great diplomacy if the goal is to impact an audience.

This performance is fast moving, deeply expressional, beautifully directed, and I am mostly moved by the incredible voices of the three female singers: Michelle St. John, Jennifer Kreisberg and Cheri Maracle. Their voices are powerful, wide ranging and to sustain a note so long is impressive. It almost makes me hold my breath.

I would definitely go to see these professional artists again. The musicians never missed a beat. That was not a pun but a big, big compliment on their moving performance.

I would like to see the Highway of Tears one day become the Highway of Sun. This tragic loss must end.

© 2013 Karen Fitzgibbon