The God That Comes

The God That Comes

by Joanna Orland

While The God That Comes is a narrative based on Greek Tragedy The Bacchae, the story is merely an undertone for the dark and raw emotion expressed through the music of Hawksley Workman.  The fact that I’ve now made an iTunes purchase of Songs from the God That Comes speaks volumes.

Created by Hawksley Workman & Christian Barry, The God That Comes lives or dies by Hawksley’s performance, and oh how it lives.  The play begins with an introduction from Hawksley who gives an overview of the story of the god of wine Bacchus, set in a world ruled by an oppressive king.  The king’s subjects including his mother have taken to the mountain in a hedonistic wine-fuelled worship of the god.  The king sets to the mountain to put a stop to the hedonism, and meets an end typical of a Greek tragedy.

The back of the stage is host to what feels like shrines of the three central characters – the king, his mother and the god.  The front of the stage mirrors this in the form of instruments with three main stations for Hawksley to play from.  This powerful musical interpretation of The Bacchae while only performed by one man, is easy to see as a larger scale theatrical production, or even as a film.  Hawksley’s musicality and immersive performance leap off of the stage to capture the room which hushes in silence, mesmerized by his presence.  He fully immerses himself in the moment, using raw emotion and physicality to bring the story to life through his beautiful and textual music.  Layer upon layer, his sounds fill the room, vocals, instruments, looping over themselves and hypnotizing the audience.

The music and tone are primarily dark, and the strength of Hawksley’s voice and musical talent are what draw the audience in.  But, there is also humour to this performance.  Notable moments include the songs Ukelady Boy and The Dress Makes The Man where Hawksley addresses the audience and breaks that 4th wall.  He’s not merely a tormented, talented figure, he’s also a cheeky git, and wonderfully so.

The God That Comes is brilliant, but Hawksley Workman’s performance even more so.  He is a unique talent with a unique voice (while still being slightly reminiscent of Tim Curry’s Frank-N-Furter).  Through harmonies, layers, intricacies and details, he leaves his audience in awe and wanting more.  Forget the god of wine, raise a glass to the god of rock & roll cabaret – Hawksley Workman.

Read our interview with Hawksley Workman.

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