A Bottle of Wine and Patsy Cline

Morag Fullerton
Òran Mór and Gilded Balloon
Rose Theatre, Edinburgh

Gail Watson as Patsy Cline

Gail Watson gives a belter of a performance as Patsy Cline, but the other star of the show is the venue, a much needed new addition to the Edinburgh scene.

While large sections of the New Town have been loudly and often garishly taken over by the Fringe's Underbelly for Edinburgh's Christmas, another Fringe venue Gilded Balloon has more quietly installed itself on Rose Street.

Watson takes us back to the '50s and '60s with Cline's songs, but also some lovely costumes and the venue an old church has a certain music hall quality.

Watson does a very good impression, but she also slips into her native accent, she is from just south of Edinburgh, to chat to the audience. And Watson's interaction is easy and natural, both as Cline and herself.

Sandy Nelson and Hannah Jarrett-Scott are not only her backing band on guitar and drums but also play a host of characters in Cline's life. Indeed the scenes between the songs are a lot more than fillers.

Nelson doubles up as a whole host of seedy men in the singer's life, while Jarrett-Scott plays an array of women and men; Watson also doubles up, as Cline's drawling mum.

There are a lot of laughs and there is a pleasant intimacy to the venue that got the audience, already jolly on their bottles of wine, very much into the clapping and tapping along spirit.

Despite the laughs and great songs, the singer's story is not a happy one and the piece doesn't shy away from the tragedies that befell Cline.

The play began as an evening version of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, but it ably fills the two acts and looks like it will be filling this new medium-sized venue over its December run.

The pews are still in place from what was the Charlotte Baptist Chapel, built in 1912, but the lighting and stage have transformed the space into a wonderful theatre.

Other parts of the old church are also being transformed so that in the future this will be a very versatile venue for a variety of performances.

It is good to see an Edinburgh church recycled for something worthwhile which benefits the whole community.

Let's raise a bottle of wine to Gail Watson's powerful Patsy Cline performance and also a cracking new venue.

Reviewer: Seth Ewin

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