Lauri Lyster is an amazing drummer and a truly charming and witty performer. There is a whimsical cool about her as she slyly smiles and cajoles in The Drummer Girl.
When she beats a drum – of which she has several – you can feel her talent and passion. She has 30 years experience in a mostly male dominated field and although her creative juices flow with jazz and world music, she also plays with orchestras, as well as Taiko and rock bands.
She has written this show about her career, the ups and downs and some very funny diversions. She has invited four of her talented friends and her husband who between the stories play and perform songs like “Trying to Keep Her 88’s Straight” by Jane Vasey as well as Lyster’s original compositions.
The band is as spectacular as she is: Brenda Baird on keyboards and vocals, Kat Wahamaa on vocals and mandolin, Simon Stribling on trumpet and sax, Ben Henriques on sax and clarinet and Rene Worst on bass. When they let loose it is often transcendent.
Lyster thankfully stays away from whining about how hard it is to be an artist, but she also doesn’t have anything really dramatic to say either. There is a casual air, akin to a house party with cool talented people. They tell stories and jokes, share some dance moves, show some slides of their vacation and are genuinely likeable and very talented.
The show is alive when the band cuts loose and some of the stories and skits are very funny – especially when she demonstrates the mind numbing boredom of playing the triangle in the orchestra pit for the opera Carmen – but The Drummer Girl loses steam when we realize that the affable journey has no destination. It’s just a talented lady telling stories about her life. And some great music.
The Drummer Girl continues at the Firehall Arts Centre through February 22, 2014. Visit http://firehallartscentre.ca for tickets and information.