Stadium Tour, Canada’s production company dedicated to paying homage to some of music’s finest moments in history and that brought us such Fringe hits as Vicious Circles and Zeppelin was a Cover Band takes the stage again to present us with “Them Good Ol’ Boys”, an ironically funny and touching re-telling of “The Day the Music Died”.
In the re-staging of writer Ben Kalman and director Stefan Cedilot’s historical-drama, that debuted in Australia at the World Fringe Festival in February earlier this year, music legends Buddy Holly and his band await a flight to take them to the next stop on their “Winter Dance Party Tour”. A seat in the audience is a chance to rock out with the band and be a passenger in a truly historical moment in music history as the boys sit around and chew the fat. They discuss lost love, artistic muses, regaining control of their careers, and the tragic feeling of knowing something horrible is about to happen.
We open with a dark stage as Echo McGuire, Buddy Holly’s first love hums a melancholy sounding “American Pie”. Her presence as an unseen entity but also as an eye into what will come to be forces us to pose the question: Is death a fair price for being remembered? For Buddy, played by Ryan Stick and described as being “in his element” every time he stepped onto a stage, the answer seems to be yes. Although his energy is smooth and comfortable, his sentiment is one that I, myself, have felt before; there’s never enough time. As sad as it is to think about, as a spectator, you’re in the same position as those on stage. A piece like this leaves you thinking, “what would I do in this situation?” No one knows when they’re going to kick the bucket, and as the clock ticks down the understanding seems to be that what happens to the boys in the next hours must happen, it will happen, and though it is horrible, it will also be glorious.
That being said, the message of the piece was provocative, thoughtful and nostalgic. The smooth and unhurried energy of successful musicians was characteristically poignant, although I felt that it lacked charisma at times. The relationships and focus between the characters was a little misplaced. Waylon Jennings, played by Patrick Rogers, had plenty of stage presence and I felt like he was the one who held most of the focus on stage, even though from an objective view the focus should have been more on Buddy Holly.
The chemistry between Waylon and Buddy was undeniably natural. I found the most interesting parts of the piece to be when they would interact with each other, rather than the parts when the group came together for songs or when Echo would go into monologues that shifted in and out of a southern accent. Ryan Stick’s ability to adapt on the spot is commendable though, even when a technical mishap at the top of the play caused his guitar to be a little out of tune. Stick didn’t miss a beat, and his musical talent still shined.
Before wrapping this up I would just like to give a shout out to Tommy Cross’ suave black cowboy hat and Richie Valens obviously fake but very charming hairpiece. For some reason, head-wear is often the most noticeable costume element for me. They complimented both actors very well.
If you’re a fan of music history, you’ll be filled with a sense of woe and nostalgia as these talented musicians recount the day that they walked towards their end and into people’s memories forever.
Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Fringe Contributor Jasmine Mrenica
Stadium Tour presents “Them Good Ol’ Boys”
When: June 8 – 18, 2017
Where: MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), 3680 Jeanne-Mance
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: www.montrealfringe.ca | 514.849.FEST (3378)
Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival