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Review: ‘Dead Ringer’ is a live one for Chemainus Theatre

Tying the show’s eclectic set list together is Zachary Stevenson

The new show at the Chemainus Theatre Festival is a great night of music.

Tying the show’s eclectic set list together is Zachary Stevenson, well known to Chemainus Theatre audiences for his turn in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.

As he demonstrates to the audience throughout the performance, his gift is being a dead ringer for so many different people, including a list of great musical talents.

This “dead ringer” theme proves to be true in more than just appearance as Stevenson impeccably by turns give the audience singers from Buddy Holly to Hank Williams and even Elvis.

Joining Stevenson are three supremely talented musicians, Brad Shipley on guitar, Kraig Waye on bass, and Patrick Allen on drums.

Together they present an evening of iconic music spanning multiple genres and even including several original songs.

But perhaps the best set of the show is Stevenson’s performance of the works of lesser known protest “topical” singer Philip (Phil) David Ochs, which in itself is worth the price of admission. At least one audience member said she was going home to look up the first song in that set, the wonderful ‘When I’m Gone’.

The rest of the show includes a lot of Buddy Holly, unsurprisingly done very well, as this is where Stevenson has made his name. You’ll hear all your favourites, from ‘Everyday’ to ‘Rave On’.

Stevenson’s also very good in a Carl Perkins vs. Elvis Presley battle over the blue suede shoes, with Stevenson performing both parts.

And the highest energy part of the show is undoubtedly Stevenson’s turn as Jerry Lee Lewis, complete with a “wow” performance at the piano that drew big applause. One audience member even leapt to their feet.

Amid the music Stevenson peppers personal anecdotes about his life as a performer that will make you laugh, and let you get to know the man behind all of the famous faces a little better.

The opening night audience was relatively small, but very enthusiastic, clapping and singing along throughout, and finally rating the performance excellent with their insistence on an encore. And it is a show that will have your toes tapping, and invites you to dance in your seat.

It’s a show worthy of a bigger audience, and we hope that folks will put it on their schedule during its short run, as it’s only on until Nov. 13.

Get tickets at or call 250-246-9820.

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
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