It’s a common narrative of our times – the reawakening of the mid-life crushed man. I Found My Horn has the kind of story and central role a slightly younger Dustin Hoffman would’ve exceled in – a recently divorced father battling with his disenfranchised teenage son and the loss of life’s infinite possibilities. Instead of Dustin Hoffman, however, the Trafalgar Studios has Johnathon Guy Lewis filling the self-deprecating, social awkward, slightly unaware character of Jasper. And, with the utmost respect for the double Oscar winner, Hoffman can stuff it.
Lewis is as affable, flappable and loveable as they come. His performance in this one man show, based on the real life events of his co-writer Jasper Rees, veers from tender and subtle when portraying the lead to comic and farcical when filling in one of the many supporting players. From an aggressive German virtuoso to a new-age American music guru, Lewis magnificently brings to life the many weird and wonderful characters in this captivating story.
The strong and pacey script rattles along at an engaging pace and bounces confidently from jokes to pathos. There is no denying Jasper’s likability and there is no end to the scrapes and dramas he gets himself, consciously or otherwise, into. And, as with all good tales of the adversities of the common man, the audience was so warmed by Rees and Lewis’s accomplishments they deservedly provided a fanfare of laughs and whoops throughout.
The narrative does run with a certain familiarity but, thanks to the duo’s superb and witty writing, the classic story of everyday triumphs feels like a comforting old blanket. I Found My Horn is a heart-warming tale of those battles we all face that seem little to the outside world but huge to us. And anyone who can watch the final act’s musical and narrative crescendo when Lewis masters the eponymous horn without an ear-to-ear grin is beyond help.
Words: Andy Currums