Janis Joplin: Full Tilt

Peter Arnott

Regular Music

Assembly Checkpoint

From 31 July 2014 to 24 August 2014

Rating: *****

Review by Philip Fisher

Had she lived, Janis Joplin would now have been in her seventies. That was never likely to be her destiny.

For younger readers, the obvious comparison would be Amy Winehouse. Janis Joplin was a blues singer who veered into rock and lived the 1960s rock lifestyle.

Like her contemporaries Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and many others, she died young after abusing her body with hard drugs once too often, aged only 27.

This biographical play/concert attempts to capture the essence of this difficult character while also allowing Angela Darcy and her four-piece backing band to belt out a stream of greatest hits including the iconic “Piece of My Heart”.

The story is sad. Janis was a lonely Texan girl whose insecurity was such that she created an alter ego Pearl, who had all of the fun, while the original endured pain behind the scenes.

Director Cora Bissett ensures that the pace never slackens and also ramps up the music to show viewers what was taken from the world when the singer ended her life so prematurely.

Angela Darcy is outstanding, giving a marvelous impression of the singer both on stage and behind the scenes in an original piece that only suffers from a playing time that feels overly abbreviated.