See it if you love beautiful voices, intimate settings, personal stories, spirituality, blues; show is a big, beautiful gift to the ear and the heart
Don't see it if you disdain spirituality, can't sit in darkness for 20 min (listening to soaring voices) - although phone lights allowed; otherwise, go!
See it if you love southern folk and rock, characterizations, raw personal storytelling, unique theater.
Don't see it if bothered by part new-age part Christian spiritual talking to ghosts. The experience still works if you don't "buy" her metaphor however.
"Even agnostics may find themselves almost believing in the spirits, holy and otherwise, who possess Heather Christian’s truly one-of-a-kind opus...It is possible to grow impatient as the details of personal folklore accumulate, though some reminiscences have an affecting sting...When she raises her voice in harmony with her fellow performers, she does indeed soar into a realm that seems sufficient unto itself...These aural effects are almost matched by the visuals."
"Despite her birdlike fragility, the composer-performer isn’t actually small—not if you factor in the incredible sounds she makes with her voice and the way she hammers music out of a piano...'Animal Wisdom' is a Southern-style avant-cabaret séance...It’s part concert, part painful para-autobiography, and part old-fashioned magic act. This time, however, the woman onstage saws her own damned self in half."
"Christian's mass mixes precious spiritualist whimsy with gospel-like fervor in ways that feel at best like a genuine communing with the ghosts of the creator's own past, and at worst like an overextended therapy session...'Animal Wisdom' may not necessarily live up to its title in offering an eye-opening perspective on dealing with an awareness of death, but cumulatively, Christian's work accomplishes what all great requiem masses ought to do: It leaves us in a state of hushed reflection."
“That long, late-breaking episode of darkness is one of the most affecting parts of ‘Animal Wisdom’, a sweet, quirky musical meditation on death...The music is sweet and strong, combining the jangles of folk, blues, and gospel...Though she advertises 'Animal Wisdom' as a requiem-slash-séance, a quest to summon long-lost relations, Christian is just as clearly after buried parts of herself...'Animal Wisdom' occasionally founders on obviousness and ghost-story cliché."
“The show is equal parts concert and séance, and an unforgettable experience...She exists, she conjures, she illuminates through whisper and scream...The ghosts will keep speaking. She will sing whether or not we’re there, because they are there alongside the rest of us, circling the dragon-slayer in the body of a waif, humming with her, communing with her history, her stories, her voice, her electric ability to commune right back at us."