Bursting onstage in a hoodie and a Phantom of the Opera-style metallic mask, Gerel Falconer performs with an energy that refuses to dissipate.
Tones: A Hip Hop Opera is a one-man show written and performed by Falconer. He plays Jerome, and throughout the performance tells the audience about his life from childhood to now, including his experiences of racism, candidly. The storytelling is carried out through the means of rap, incorporating grime and hip-hop music within the show. The lyrics are witty and come at us thick and fast as Falconer barely takes a breath during his hour-long performance. His stamina is astounding and his performance is remarkable.
The bass of the music can at times be felt from vibrations that travel through your seat. The music works well to tell the story, but at times does not complement the rap, creating a slight disconnect as the rapping is much faster than the music playing.
With a lack of visual cues, including multiple props which are never used, the story is slightly hard to follow at times. Falconer moves around the stage in a line from side to side, and more is needed in terms of staging and movement for the very important message of the show to be conveyed to the audience. In its current form I’m unsure it will captivate attention throughout, with tweaks needed to ensure the emotional moment of the show is as impactful as it could be.
Falconer employs different voices and accents for the people within his stories which works well. The lines are rapped so rapidly that some of the wittiness may not be caught fully in just one viewing.
This is a truly unique show, and Falconer gives an amazing performance which exhausts you just by watching, it’s clear he’s put a lot of work into this show and bares his soul for all to see.
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