A Funny Valentine


Jazz trumpet genius Chet Baker 

A Funny Valentine: Lighthouse Studio, Poole.

Master story-teller, actor and sometime musician Mike Maran has dealt with subjects as diverse as Pablo Picasso and Gustav Mahler. His insightful tales are invariably both riveting and illuminating.

With this extraordinary show he does it again. Weaving a story of mesmeric power, he takes the audience on a rhythmic roller-coaster journey into the desperate, desolate, drug-addicted world of American jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.

As anyone who has seen his one-man shows knows, Maran spins an exceptionally a good yarn. Here he’s in his element. With wonderfully evocative music from trumpeter Pete Martin (standing in for regular collaborator Colin Steele ) and pianist Dave Milligan, he held the Lighthouse audience spellbound as he told Baker’s tragic tale.

Baker made beautiful music, lived fast, messed up a lot of people's lives and died surprisingly old at 58, smashing his head open after falling from a second floor hotel window in Amsterdam. He may have had an arm full of heroin at the time but something didn't add up.

Maran’s on-stage storyteller knows the truth. For 35 long years he was with Baker every step of the way. Apart from music, he was the only friend Chet ever felt he needed and, yes he was there too on that fateful night in May 1988 when he died. Like Baker’s music this drama, directed by Patrick Sandford of Southampton's Nuffield Theatre, is both beautiful and sad.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2022