Anyone truly interested in watching a multifaceted account of the triumphs and tragedies of legendary country songbird Patsy Cline might want to skip Playhouse on the Square's A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline and rent the DVD of Sweet Dreams, an excellent 1985 biopic starring Jessica Lange at the top of her game. On the other hand, those who prefer to skip the drama in favor of a nostalgic trip through honky-tonk history set to the tune of Willie Nelson's "Crazy" and Harlan Howard's enduring "I Fall to Pieces" will be drawn POTS' frequently revived revue like 1950s music icons to doomed flights. A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline begins and ends with a hayseed comic/deejay spinning Cline's platters and dropping well-known details about the difficult singer's life, creating a loose narrative framework for a show that's all about listening to the music. Cline is presented as a modestly tragic heroine, but her tortured (not to mention her lascivious) side is played down so as not to upset the children or to clash with the show's decidedly feel-good tone. It's hardly serious theater, but it's a serious treat to holiday audiences looking for escapist fare that also allows a break from ubiquitous carols and the kidcentric theatricals that proliferate at Christmastime.
A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline opens 8 p.m. Friday, November 24th, and runs through January 7th at Playhouse on the Square, $30-$35