At Hollywood Fringe 2017

Written by Ernest Kearney

A man brings his guitar and a cooler out to the beach, and as he faces the setting sun tries to decide whether he can make peace with the ghost of his abusive mother or if his memories of her need to sink beneath the waves of the approaching tide.

So begins The Brick – A One Man Musical written and performed by Bill Berry and directed by Kelly De Sarla.  It is an interesting story that Berry tells of his German mother trying to come to grips with her memories of surviving World War II and her inability to understand his love of music or as she calls it “clang-clang,” and Berry shows both wit and pathos in relating the tale.

This alone would make for a strong show, but it is Berry’s “clang-clang” that rises the evening to an exceptional experience.  For in seeking to make his decision he resorts to singing to the surf.

Berry comes across as one of the rarest forms of performers in these times of ours – the balladeer.  Whether singing of a youthful escapade to steal a store display of Steve Martin or of finding himself as a teenager infected with a bad case of the crabs, the songs he sings are melodic morality lessons.

Not all the tunes carry a humorous intent, some celebrate the humanity that Berry has encountered throughout his life, while others seem to challenge it; such as the titular piece “The Brick” with the refrain, “You can tell a lot about a man by what he uses his brick for —“

On the beach, Berry’s character is facing the same choice; memories or bricks to either build with or to break with.

Not to be missed – a PLATINUM MEDAL.