The Doyle & Debbie Show

Created by Bruce ArntsonThe Doyle & Debbie Show

Produced by Lonesome Road Productions

& Jim Jensen & Lisselan Productions

At the Royal George Cabaret Theatre, Chicago

Old time country music is paid a sublime homage and a stinging parody resulting in many laughs

Bruce Arnston created and performs the role of Doyle Mayfield with his sidekick, Buddy (Matthew Carlton) and his singing partner Debbie (Jenny Littleton). This threesome deftly spoofs, lampoons, and mocks with a series of down-home yet original country tunes every cliche revolving around the Southern mentality and the essence of  old-time country music.

The Doyle & Debbie Show

Arnston and Littleton skillfully sing in the hooky old-time country styles complete with twangs and rural accents reminiscent of the Grand Ole Opry  and Mayberry, USA. Bruce Arntson wrote  the 16 tunes as parody and his music (here recorded)is in the style of the country/western era of the 1950-80’s.  He uses the battle of the sexes and iconic  duos to both mock and play tribute to the down-home music that runs throughout rural America.

The Doyle & Debbie Show

The style and the fabulously satirical lyrics in songs like “Grandma Flickertail,” “When You’re Screwing Other Women, Think of Me”  and “Barefoot and Pregnant” garner many laughs as the audience on opening night never stopped laughing at the songs lyrics and the manic delivery by Arntson and Littleton.  The  rural cliche-laden homilies and personal stories added to the humor as we easily relate to the cleverly sophisticated stage craft and the hilarious lyrics of The Doyle & Debbie Show.

Virtually every aspect of poor white trashing living including trail park  and truck driver songs to a love song “Snowbanks of Life” – has Doyle singing how he pisses the name of his lover in the snow!

This 90 minute one-act is well-crafted, polished and well-sung without losing any of the biting parody. This is one of the funniest shows to make it to Chicago in years. Bruce Arnston and Jenny Littleton work hard as they succeed in giving us enough laughs to make us both love and admire the strangely simple world of old-time country music and rural Southern stereotypes.  This is will be a major hit in Chicago once the word gets around on how funny and clever the show is.  See how a show can both lampoon and pay homage to an American musical style while getting belly-laughs along the way. This is a most entertaining show.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: October 17, 2011

At the Royal George Cabaret Theatre, 1641N. Halsted, Chicago, IL, 312-423-6612, www.doyleanddebbie.com,  tickets $43.50 – $49.50 9student tickets at the box office for $20), Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at % & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 & 5 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, in an open run