Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hoodoo Love- blues, sex and magic

With August Wilson gone, there's not a lot of blues plays floating around now (Blind Lemon Blues should get revived) but the few that are out there are worth the time. Now at NYC's Cherry Lane Theatre is Hoodoo Love, a gut-wrenching tale of the old South. In the first few minutes, you're dragged into its tale of sex, magic and music with a curse, a sex scene and a train song. A rambling blues man (a self-proclaimed "bed-time baptizer of men") is haunted by his dead wife as he bounces from one town to the next, looking for a quick lay ("he's got a strong back... and it ain't from pickin' cotton"). His latest conquest looks to put a mojo hex on him to ground him by her side but they each get more than they bargained for, including a horrific encounter with a relation and a dramatically drawn-out, deadly game of chance. Set in the Mississippi in the Depression-era where Robert Johnson and Ma Rainey are heroes and dirt is everywhere under the characters' feet and a sharecropper-like shack serves as the sole setting, it's a harrowing tale that could use more music (only about six songs in its two-hours-plus time) and if you're squeamish about the N word, you'll hear it more than in a gangsta song but that wasn't likely too unusual for the time and setting. It's a good night out for off-Broadway for sure and best to catch it now since there's only 7 more performances.


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