The Doyle & Debbie Show: This twang goes to 11

Kim Kivens and David Andrew Anderson in The Doyle & Debbie Show.
Kim Kivens and David Andrew Anderson in The Doyle & Debbie Show.
Photo by Brianna Royle Kopka
The Doyle & Debbie Show is a lot lIke a country-and-western This is Spinal Tap. The songs have the same kind of loving knowledge of the cliches of the chosen genre, instead of "Sex Farm" and "Stonehenge," we get "Stock Car Love" and "When You're Screwing Other Women (Think of Me)."

Also like that famous fake band, the duo of Doyle and Debbie are on the downward spiral. Doyle has struggled with the typical musician demons for years and has never achieved the success he thought he was due. Debbie for this run of shows is actually the third woman to be part of the duo. She's young, hungry and talented, and also has stars in her eyes about her more famous musical partner.

All of this is fodder for a funny and entertaining evening at the New Century Theatre. The Hennepin Theatre Trust production takes a show that has been a hit in Nashville and other environs over the past half a dozen years. The songs are funny and memorable (how could "I'm Not a Homo (But Man You Look Good to Me)" not be?) and the performances from the duo of David Andrew Anderson and Kim Kivens bring the characters, complete with some pretty big flaws, to life.

Creator Bruce Arntson (I am obligated as a Minnesotan to note that he is from this state, though he moved to Nashville back in the late 1970s) used old-style country stars as his inspiration.

Here we have a stage show that has seen better days. The mic stands are battered and the red, white, and blue paint is peeling. Doyle arrives in a sequined suit with an American flag on the back.The backing band has been replaced by longtime comrade Buddy (Paul Somers) and an Apple laptop.

Throughout the 90-minute show, we're treated to more than a dozen "hits" from the past along with a few newer tunes. These are well constructed songs, loaded with drive and clever lyrics, even when celebrating the joys of red-state living, from "Fat Women in Trailers" to "Barefoot and Pregnant."

Anderson and Kivens have to bring a lot the behind-the-scenes trouble out through facial expressions, gestures, and posture. The song they are singing may be the sunniest one in the show, but the chaos in their hearts is never far from their eyes. It all comes to a head near the end when one of the keys to Doyle's trouble comes out in "Daddy's Hair," where it all takes a slight detour into B-movie horror before getting back on track for the finale.


The Doyle & Debbie Show
Through May 11
New Century Theatre
615 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
For tickets and more information, call 612.455.9501 or visit online.
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