From the Heart – Women of Country

Shania, Dolly, Patsy – and more!

Country music fans should be on a pilgrimage to Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia.  They need to pay homage to the Women of Country, now on stage.  Six women sing more than 50 country songs.  For country music fans, this must be a little bit of heaven:    For the finale, they indeed look like angels in their white gowns.

David Rogers, David Hogan and Mark Payne have put together another of their signature musical revues. In this presentation, they cover favourite songs from a myriad of female county singers, and then throw in a few men’s country songs to boot.From the Heart country women

 

Callandra Dendias gives us a great rendition of Blue, among others.  She also treats the audience to her yodelling, which proves very popular.  Leah Grandmont both plays the fiddle and sings in this show.  She shows real talent on stage, which is especially significant considering she is only 19 years old.  Callandra and Leah give a moving version of Can I Have this Dance?, with Leah singing and playing.

Stacey Kay is sassy in Shania Twain’s Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under, and also gives us Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy.  Stacey recently appeared on American’s Got Talent:  Watch to see how she and her band do when they move forward.

Adele MacKenzie sings Anne Murray’s Danny’s Song, and belts Dolly Parton’s Here You Come Again.  Alli Mang’s The Night the Lights went Out in Georgia is absolutely exceptional – she is a good storyteller-singer.

Elicia MacKenzie delivers Anne Murray’s You Needed Me with her beautiful, clear, soaring voice and also offers a heartfelt presentation of I Hope You Dance.

Together, the six young women present Harper Valley PTA, Dolly Parton’s I will Always Love You and many more favourites.

The show is peppered Hee-Haw style with lots of corny jokes, as the cast talk across the stage to each other.  With the Egg Farmers of Ontario as sponsors, there are more than enough egg puns.  For instance: “Who wrote Great Egg-spectations?”  “Charles Chickens.”  Or “Why did you build your chicken coop with two doors?”  “If it had four doors, it would be a chicken sedan.”

Stunning all-white barn-like lathe work frames the stage.  The band sits in the loft, while the singers have some high perches and stairs down to the stage.

Opening costumes are cheery and cute, featuring denim with white eyelet or white lace.  And in the finale, as mentioned above, the six women look radiant on the totally white set, wearing white formal gowns.  But in between they do a set in flowered dresses that leave something to be desired.  They could be confused for Van Trapp children, wearing curtain fabric in the Sound of Music.

Nevertheless, the showmanship is excellent and the six voices are good.  Even if you’re not a country music fan, you might just be won over, as I was.

From The Heart – Women of Country continues at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until July 26.  Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or 519-882-1221 for tickets or visit www.thevpp.ca

Photo: From the Heart – Women of Country at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia with Alli Mang, Stacey Kay, Adele MacKenzie, Callandra Dendias, Elicia MacKenzie, Leah Grandmont.

From the Heart – Women of Country
Directed by David Rogers
Choreographed by David Hogan
Musical Direction by Mark Payne
Performed by Callandra Dendias, Leah Grandmont, Stacey Kay, Adele MacKenzie, Elicia MackKenzie and Alli Mang
Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
July 7 to 26, 2015
Reviewed by Mary Alderson 

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