GOODBYE, TIM HARDIN written and performed by Bill Ballantyne, directed by Layne Coleman, with David Matheson. Presented by Alianak Theatre and Mainstage Productions at the Poor Alex (296 Brunswick). Runs to November 23, Tuesday-Friday 8 pm, Saturday 8 and 10:30 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $21-$28, Sunday pwyc-$21. 416-504-7529. Rating: N Rating: N
in goodbye, tim hardin, shaggy actor/writer Bill Ballantyne shuffles onto the Poor Alex stage and remembers his lines. Beyond that, there's very little to praise in his tell-don't-show work about the singer/songwriter who died at the age of 39 of a drug overdose. The play, the longest 70 minutes you'll spend this season, tracks the musician's last few hours, but there's no dramatic arc or tension. Ballantyne, whose diction is so poor I thought at first he was discussing Tim Horton, talks about his songs, his early gigs and his on-again, off-again love affair with his wife, Susan.
Apart from some name-dropping (Lenny Bruce, Phil Ochs) and a few sophomoric anecdotes, the script leaves us with more questions than answers. Where do his songs come from? What does he love about drugs? What does he see in Susan, besides someone he can, near the end of his life, stalk?
There's also little sense of place - one minute we're in New York, the next L.A. - and no insight at all into the creative process, although Ballantyne quotes everyone from Shakespeare to Matthew Arnold and badmouths many artists (Rod Stewart, Bobby Darrin) who went on to record some of Hardin's tunes.
David Matheson , ex of Moxy Früvous, does a respectable job of strumming and singing 10 Hardin songs, but there's no discernible link between Ballantyne's stories and the songs, and the lyrics are so vague and unspecific, they leave little impression. Kind of like the show itself.