Review: A Bottle of Wine and Patsy Cline - Watson shines as legend

Gail Watson as Patsy Cline
Gail Watson as Patsy Cline
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CRAZY, they are going crazy for Gail Watson at the Gilded Balloon’s Rose Theatre right now.

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Crazy, because the Bonnyrigg actress is currently wowing audiences as Patsy Cline, the trailblazing country singer who proved her worth in the land of cowboys.

Born Virginia Patterson Hensley, in the shadows of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, the tragic tale of the American singer who captured the world with her hillbilly sound is heart-breaking.

Cline was already twice married and a mother of two, as well as being one of the most influential artistes of the 20th century, when she was killed in a plane crash at the age 30.

A Bottle of Wine and Patsy Cline (you get a wee bottle of wine free with your ticket) finds Watson pulling on her wig to tell the story.

In a seamless transition from tribute act to the legend herself, Watson inhabits the role with an chirpy confidence that connects directly with her audience.

In no time at all they are talking back, singing along and clapping their hands.

It’s a mesmeric, career-defining performance from Watson who is a star in her own right.

From the recording of Cline’s first hit at the age of 26 - Walkin’ After Midnight, a song she never wanted to sing - the story unfolds.

Along the way, Watson belts out some of Cline’s best known hits, including I Fall to Pieces, You’re Cheatin’ Heart, Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray, She’s Got You and, of course, the obligatory Crazy (another song Cline had to be persuaded to sing), which brings the house down.

Joining Watson on stage playing piano, guitar, drums and the numerous other characters in Cline’s life are Sandy Nelson, Hannah Jarrett-Scott and musical director Hilary Brooks.

Nelson too is in great voice duetting on Honky Tonk Angels, while Brooks keeps a tight rein on the music.

Jarrett-Scott adds a sparky presence to proceedings, flitting from character to character.

But it is Watson’s show. She emulates perfectly Cline’s rich, emotional delivery, capturing the cracks in her voice, resonance and inflections that made the hillbilly heroine’s sound unique.

It was said Cline ‘sung like she was hurting inside’, so too does Watson.

As the quintessential cowgirl out to change a man’s world, Watson is simply a must see.

Run ends 30 December