Tarantino’s music shines in production

Since his first film, Quentin Tarantino has emphasized music in his movies.

Tarantino isn’t too subtle, either; he wants you to notice the tunes. From Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” to Tomoyasu Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor or Humanity,” Tarantino’s musical choices are varied, yet often forgotten unless he features them in genuinely iconic scenes.

Auteur mashup · Von Smith (center) pays tribute to contemporary, postmodern director Quentin Tarantino in a musical and theatrical pastiche, celebrating the various works of the acclaimed artist. - Photo courtesy of EDA Publicity

When Uma Thurman and John Travolta famously dance at the fictional restaurant Jack Rabbit Slim’s in Pulp Fiction, Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” rings out in the background, becoming an indispensable part of the scene.

And when the cast of Reservoir Dogs comes out in the beginning of their movie in slow motion, “Little Green Bag,” performed by George Baker Selection, serves as an unforgettable backing track.

It almost seems obvious to make a Tarantino musical and though this may be true, that doesn’t make the production any easier to execute.

The creative minds behind Show At Barre’s For the Record: Tarantino In Concert took the task head-on and hit it out of the park. Using the entire venue as the backdrop, the show’s extremely talented performers present a collage of scenes from the movies that’s entertaining beyond belief.

The actors transition perfectly between acted scenes and musical numbers, which often blend together.

It’s in recreated moments such as the famous torture scene from Reservoir Dogs, in which Michael Madsen’s character Mr. Blonde sadistically tortures an unlucky policeman that has been kidnapped, that the actors show how brilliant this show really is.

One can see the anguish in the poor cop’s face as he belts out “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel while his tormentor waltzes up to him, suddenly taking over the tune as he gags the cop.

The show is overflowing with charming scenes like this one, taking beloved moments from Tarantino’s movies and making them irresistibly catchy through the usage of music.

The perfomers are really something else: Each member of the eight-person cast, composed of four men and four women, is a talented singer and actor.

Backed by a full band set up along the street-facing wall of the venue, the actors dive impressively into the assorted scenes from each of Tarantino’s movies without skipping a beat.

One second you’re watching the aforementioned torture scene, and the next you’re surprised from behind as a performer transitions into African-American funk singer Joe Tex’s “I Gotcha” by picking an unsuspecting audience member, covering him or her with his cape and belting out the first words of the song without reservation: “I gotcha!”

This exuberant performance of the song, delivered so aggressively by Tex, is even more memorable when done perfectly by a white, middle-aged actor that’s dancing on top of a bar and among tables. The scene’s ridiculous humor gets you in every way.

The use of the entire restaurant in this sort of 360-degree performance succeeds in making every person in attendance feel like the show is happening directly in front of and for them. There is no nosebleed section here — every seat is in its own front row.

When scenes with dancing come, audience members are pulled out of their seats and thrown right into the action, much to the merriment of everyone else in the venue. When Uma Thurman’s Black Mamba fights the Crazy 88 in her Kill Bill: Vol. 1 signature, yellow jumpsuit, she doesn’t just fight them in the middle of the stage — rather, she disappears and reappears throughout the whole room.

For The Record: Tarantino In Concert keeps you on your toes the entire duration of the show, inspiring you to try to find where the next scene will start.

Simply put, the show is brilliant — there’s no other way to describe it. For The Record: Tarantino In Concert takes a hold of you from the start and doesn’t let go until the end. The only inconvenience is the two-item food/drink minimum enforced on top of the ticket, but it’s a small criticism that most people won’t mind.

The show is truly exceptional and definitely worth it.