ALWAYS....PATSY CLINEby Ted Swindley
ONSTAGE in Bedford
Directors: Sherry Etzel & Lana K Hoover
Musical Director: Byron Holder
Stage Managers: Rose Anne Holman & Bonnie Hanvey
Set Design: Charlotte Newman & Jim Scroggins
Lighting Designers: Deshea Designs & Nikki Deshea
Patsy Cline: Sherry Etzel
Louise Seger: Lana K Hoover
Piano: Byron Holder
Drums: Randy Linberg
Bass: Steve Cullen
Guitar: Enrique Olachea
Fiddle: Drusilla Blacky
Reviewed Performance: 9/21/2012
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Based on a true story, Always...Patsy Cline is the story of how one exuberant fan was lucky enough to meet and befriend the eponymous country legend. Using Patsy Cline's music to highlight and compliment the story as it moves along, the show is approximately 70% singing and 30% storytelling. Relying on only two actors, only one of whom sings, is quite the risk but Ted Swindley's writing is perfect for this story.
Sherry Etzel reprises her role as Patsy Cline, having famously played the part at Greater Lewisville Community Theatre in 2009. Her voice is terrifically suited for the part. While being faithful to the originals, she brings her own small artistic touches to the songs. Etzel embodies the spirit of the show beautifully.
Lana K. Hoover is the excited, out-going, storytelling Louise Seger. Always?Patsy Cline is told through her experience and Hoover brings it to life with exceptional character. She's spry, funny and just silly enough to keep the audience interested. There are times, like her trying to conduct the band, the robustness of Hoover's characterization pulls the attention away from Etzel but the comedic effect of it makes it forgivable.
The set for Always?Patsy Cline is simple but nice. A kitchen counter, sink, window and dining table set stage right while a well carved wood bar (which you can bid on in the silent auction fund raiser happening during the run of the show), a jukebox and table set stage left. The band sits upstage center with a microphone for Patsy's performances set stage center. All of which work exceptionally well for the movement between settings.
With a set that doesn't move, the lighting is very important for mood setting and defining scenes. The lights follow the action well. As Louise and Patsy traverse the stage, the lighting moves with them almost unnoticed. The band is well lit but not distracting to the action happening in front of them.
Sound was an issue at ONSTAGE in Bedford. Their microphones would cut out or give the actresses' voices a hollow, cave-like quality for a second or two throughout the show. However, in the small theater, it did not create a problem in hearing the actresses. The band played very well and was wonderful to listen to. I just wish I could have heard the fiddle better. All the other instruments drowned out the poor lonesome fiddle, making it difficult to hear.
Do your soul some good and go see Always...Patsy Cline at ONSTAGE in Bedford. You won't be disappointed. Older generations will revel in the memories it brings back. Younger generations could gain an appreciation for some truly soulful country music.
ONSTAGE in Bedford, 2819 Forest Ridge Dr., Bedford, TX 76021
Runs through September 30th
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm featuring a Buffet Reception beginning at 6:30 pm
Sundays 3:00 pm featuring a Dessert Reception beginning at 1:30 pm
Tickets are $20.00 each.
For information, go to http://onstageinbedford.com or call (817) 354-6444.