You don’t have to be a country music fan to enjoy Kings & Queens of Country, now playing at Huron Country Playhouse II until June 30.
Indeed, the onstage performers and non-stop music is so irresistable, you will find yourself singing along and clapping your hands to such classic favourites as Roger Miller’s King of the Road and Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man.
To be sure, this is not the genre known as New Country with its bare mid-drift tops and bare-chested Cowboys, it’s the classic stuff heard at the Grand Ole Opry and on TV shows like Hee Haw.
Conceived and directed by Drayton Entertainment Artistic Director, Alex Mustakas, Kings and Queens is pure joy. Speaking to Mustakas during the Intermission, he told me and Joe Belanger from the London Free Press that the play has had a large emotional impact on its Company, some of whom have been drawn to tears by audience reception.
And it’s easy to understand why. For people of a certain age and background, Kings and Queens is the soundtrack to their lives.
The sheer number of songs the talented and versatile Company plays prevents any listing of them. Let’s just say, if you’re a fan of classic country you won’t come away disappointed.
The play’s 9-person Company, Al Braatz, Kevin Dempsey, Earl Filsinger, Tyler Check, Chelsey Duplak, Kelly Holiff, Michael Cox, J. Sean Elliot and Steve Thomas, channels all the biggest stars from Johnny Cash to Glen Campbell to Patsy Cline to Hank Snow to Dolly Parton and everyone in between.
Close your eyes and you will swear the Real McCoy is onstage.
Full Disclosure: Neither I nor my partner Val Cavalini is a big country music fan, classic or new, so we didn’t know what to expect from Kings & Queens of Country.
We were pleasantly surprised and drove home to London singing the tunes we had heard that evening.
You will, too.
Rick Young, June 15, 2018.