By Natalie Leslie

What’s goin’ on?

FRINGE is going on, as seasoned FRINGE artist Br. John claims The Pearl’s black box stage as his own. The first showing of If I Should Die Tonight: A Musical Tribute to Marvin Gaye opened to a full house.

Br. John, backed by Bryan Austin, Rick Cole, and Suzette Woods, illuminate the stage and set the tone of love in the room. Scenes teeter back and forth between an ongoing concert and an isolated bedroom, where thoughts of depression and pain linger in Gaye’s mind. The contrast of success and rewarding feelings mixed with more complex, darker reflections gives the viewers a genuine impression of the misunderstood artist.

This series of scenes is dedicated to a raw, deeper understanding of the Motown superstar. As the show progressed, flashbacks of relationships and triumphs are presented side by side with personal struggles and long term emotional damage. John accurately expressed moments of loneliness and indecisiveness in Gaye’s life.

As Marvin reminisces on the challenges he faced as a child, he is forced to try and understand the influence his alcoholic father played in his life. Gaye’s emotional intensity pushed the crowd to better understand the mental state in which he was struggling with while simultaneously soothing viewers with sweet like sugar melodies.

An authentic soul undivided to music and feeling, even feeling at its most vulnerable state, was presented center stage. The audience was grooving as the cast loosened up, and the crowd got to clapping for classics like What’s going on?, Sexual Healing, and Let’s get it on.

Following Marvin’s journey for peace, one may find some in attending this interpretation of an Icon.

“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” – Marvin Gaye

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