THE newest production at the Heritage Theatre this week sees the venue saddling up and going country.
Country Roads stages from tomorrow to October 13 and features a broad selection of hits by artists including John Denver, Patsy Cline, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Billy Ray Cyrus, Shania Twain, The Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum, Kid Rock, Mumford and Sons and more.
The Heritage Theatre’s Gary McKenzie said he had wanted to do a country show for some years.
“As with anything, it’s all about timing. I was going to produce it six months ago, but could not get the right group of artists together at one time. This time we cracked it.
“In the engine room we have the ever-reliable Francoise Hardy on drums and Jill Murraybrown on bass. Calli is a top musical director and keyboard player. Nux Swartz is a legend in his own right. Anita plays fiddle better than the devil himself and you won’t find a more versatile and talented musician than Andy Turrell who plays about eight different instruments, including bagpipes, but not in this show,” joked McKenzie.
“When you produce a country show you have to have all the elements that allow you to present the music as close as possible to the original. You have to have a fiddle, pedal steel and mandolin or banjo in the line-up. As well as acoustic, slide and lead guitars.
“The biggest problem with this type of show is not what to put in, but what to leave out,” he said of the playlist.
“The songs were a selection of old and new country songs to make the show as appealing to as varied an audience as possible. All the songs chosen are well known. The artists were or are all big stars in their own right. The main rationale, however, was to choose a line-up that could tell a story of the relationship between a good old country boy and girl.”
The end product is the result of a workshopped process involving Thompson, Louden (whom McKenzie described as a “country girl at heart”) and McKenzie.
• With three preview specials offered from today, get to the Heritage where you can catch the show and a three-course meal for R165 until Thursday. Normal prices are R195 Wednesday to Saturdays, and R165 Tuesday nights and Sunday matinee, with a two-course meal. Show only is R120. Bookings at 031 765 4197.