Jody Richardson is lightning on stage. Skilled in many aspects of stagecraft, some of his finest moments come when he is a blur of red hair, sweat and inner fire performing songs he loves. He loves David Bowie, and Nov. 3 will give St. John’s a second, and final, shot to catch “Jody Sings Bowie” at the Arts and Culture Center. A Corner Brook show will follow on the 5th at their ACC.
It may look at first like a ‘tribute show,’ but Jennifer Galliott, the textile artist who has created the costumes for the original March show as well as this new one, tells me it is more of an extravaganza than that. Jody takes getting into character seriously, even losing weight for this show to better channel Bowie.
The 6 member band is also in full costume. The instruments themselves are embellished. Sound clips, projections, and choreography make the show feel as much like theater as musical performance. The audience is encouraged to come in costume and DJ Slim Macho will be spinning tunes in the lobby after the stage show is over.
Bowie is arguably as famous for his originality, style, and constant reinvention of his image as for his music. From his ‘Mod Bowie’ 60’s, when he was still known as David Jones, onto the glory that was Ziggy Stardust/ Alladin Sane, the Thin White Duke, the Berlin era, all the way to the release of his final album, Blackstar in 2016, Bowie has challenged and delighted with his androgynous glamour. Jennifer goes all the way with it, the shows costumes covering the range.
On her studio table is laid, in progress, a version of the Freddie Burretti 2 piece that Bowie once described as “Liberty print meets A Clockwork Orange.” Kansai Yamamotos outfits for the Ziggy Stardust tour are among Bowie’s best known, so the show would not be complete without an asymmetrical jumpsuit as well.
This was the one source of conflict between designer and star, Jennifer wanting to do the blue glittery ‘firecrotch’ model and Jody being partial to a knit number with stripes stacked on other patterns that brings to mind a Charlotte Reid piece that has taken some psychedelics.
The slouchy suits for the later soul Bowie were provided by the Arts and Culture Center costume bank. The only repeat outfit from the original performance is the Ashes to Ashes spaceclown costume, a piece from Bowie’s “new romantic “ phase in the 80’s that is so intricate that Jennifer must be glad she doesn’t have to sew it twice.
She’d had back up when doing the costumes for the March show, Jessica McDonald helping with zippers and such. This time she’s on her own, and impressively cheerful for someone with enough works in progress in their studio to drown an average human.
While some outfits can be revealed, there are others which must be experienced at the show. I was given a ‘teaser’ about the final costumes. ‘Prepare to be amazed’ is all I can really tell you about that.