BWW Review: ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE at Florida Rep is Entertaining and Exuberant!
ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE at Florida Repertory Theatre, directed by Maureen Heffernan, tells the true story of Patsy Cline's rise to fame through the account of a loyal fan who just so happened to become a close friend of Patsy's, Louise Seger.
This show was incredibly fun. From the moment it begins until the very end, you're drawn into the music of the iconic Patsy Cline, including songs such as "Crazy" and "Walkin' After Midnight." And not only was this a musical tribute, but it was also an incredibly heartfelt story about how Louise Seger came to know Patsy and became one of her closest friends in a single night. Patsy and Louise may appear to be very different women, as Patsy has a slightly more sophisticated and polished personality as opposed to Louise's more straightforward one, but they share many life experiences and quickly develop a bond because of those.
Becky Barta plays Louise, and I enjoyed every moment of her performance. She was hilarious, and the passion she showed as Louise for Patsy's music was perfectly clear. I loved her enthusiasm, and she got the audience involved in the show several times which I really liked as well.
Bethany Gwen Perkins plays Patsy Cline, and I thought she was spectacular. Her vocals were absolutely beautiful and incredibly similar to the actual Patsy Cline's. She had an elegance about her, but I also enjoyed seeing a more real side of her character as she befriended Barta's Louise. The bond these women had was really heartwarming to see, and these two actresses did a wonderful job showcasing it.
The "Bodacious Bobcats Band" in ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE included Musical Director Alex Shields on the piano, Roger Rettig on steel guitar, Dave Sonneborn on bass guitar, and Matthew Koller on drums. They all did a great job playing these very well-known songs, and I like that they really are part of the show, as they remain on the stage for the entirety of it.
I definitely recommend seeing ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE if you get the chance. It was thoroughly entertaining and had a lot of beautiful sentimental moments sprinkled throughout it. Because it is in Florida Rep's ArtStage Studio Theatre, the show felt a bit more personal, and I think that worked very well for this story.
ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE is playing in Florida Rep's ArtStage Studio Theatre now through November 24. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7 PM, Friday-Saturday at 8 PM, with 2 PM matinees on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. To buy tickets, you can visit www.floridarep.org, call Florida Rep at 239-332-4488, or stop by the box office at 2268 Bay Street, Fort Myers, FL, 33901.
Photo Credit: Joe Dafeldecker