REVIEW – Lunchtime with Patsy Cline

*****

By Isabella Fraser

This show is an homage to legendary country singer Patsy Cline, who was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1963 at the age of 30. Written, produced and performed by Lorraine McBrearty, the show features backing music arranged and recorded by musician Nick Deyanov.

McBrearty as Patsy Cline has an incredible voice – clear, strong and heartfelt. When she sings she draws you into her world: you forget you are at a Fringe show, such is the power of the emotion in her performance. It is a rare talent to be able to transport your audience into the heart of the song, just by the quality of your voice – Sweet Dreams and Faded Love in particular were intensely moving. Her singing voice also bears an uncanny resemblance to Cline’s, so if you are a fan of her music then this is the show for you; it would be easy to close your eyes and forget that this is actually a live person signing, not a recording of the original singer.

The less successful parts of the show were the storytelling sections. While it was interesting to hear the background to the life of Patsy Cline, it did not always flow between songs. The pre-recorded DVD sections in particular stopped the action and drew the viewer out of the show. These could perhaps work as a voiceover, or if they had actually been the original recordings, rather than reshot. However, there is genuine humour throughout the show – McBrearty brings out a warm, funny and very likeable character – her Cline is someone you could easily imagine gossiping and sitting down with.

The venue, the Hispaniola, while quirky and galleon-like inside (hence the name) is not set up for this type of performance as it is arranged with restaurant table layout. This means the seating is awkward, but McBrearty manages her best to adapt to the space. There was a decent sized crowd for the show and, judging by the amount of toe tapping, swaying and heads nodding, there were many fans of Patsy Cline in the audience and McBrearty definitely did not disappoint.

Lunchtime with Patsy Cline runs as part of PBH’s Free Fringe until 23 August (except Tuesdays) at the Hispaniola, Drummond Street at 12.30. Running time is 55 mins.

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