Theater Review: TIME NO LINE (John Kelly)

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by Harvey Perr on April 26, 2019

in Theater-Los Angeles


There are great performance artists and, rarer still, there are great artists who perform. John Kelly is both. His Time No Line is a quietly breathtaking meditation on his life and art culled from the journals he kept from 1976 to the present day. He can be mathematically precise poring over details in one moment and joyfully casual in moving through the high points in his career the next. He can break our hearts by merely evoking the names of fellow artists who did not survive, as he has to tell their story as well as his own, the terrible AIDS epidemic that was part and parcel of gay life in his time.

Inventively designed and imagined, Kelly draws himself into circles that meet and converge. He speaks, his fingers almost fluttering in the air around him. He dances, his movement so still that is seems the embodiment of what we call “exquisite.” And when he sings, he raises specters of voices that seem to come from some deep unexplored place in his heart, whether he is channeling Callas (as he did the first time I saw him, at New York’s Pyramid Club, before he even started his journals) or Miss Canada, the great Joni Mitchell, when he meshes his own unique style with an uncanny vocal rendering of Joni herself singing “The Last Time I Saw Richard,” or Charles Aznavour’s “What Makes a Man a Man,” giving chilling new meaning to the feminine inside the masculine. In moments like this, one wishes he would never leave the stage.

photos by Steve Gunther

Time No Line
John Kelly
reviewed at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
631 West 2nd St (under Disney Hall)
ends on April 27, 2019
for tickets, call 213-972-8001 or visit REDCAT

for more info, visit John Kelly

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