Music superb in Cash show

The production takes you through Johnny Cash’s life from his family’s early days in rural Arkansas to his rise as an American music icon

Ring of Fire is back and it’s hotter than ever.

The production takes you through Johnny Cash’s life from his family’s early days of cotton-picking poverty in rural Arkansas to his rise as an American music icon, along the way dealing with tragic loss, falling in love, facing addiction and personal demons and finding wisdom and deep religious faith.

The show was marked by incredible performances and harmony between the talented cast members, as well as top-notch instrumental accompaniment. In all there were more than three dozen Cash songs performed ranging from ‘Daddy Sang Bass’ to ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ and gospel standards that defined the religious side of Cash like ‘Angel Band’ and ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken?’ were very well done. Another highlight included a duet of ‘I Still Miss Someone’ between Cash (Timothy Brummund) and Cash’s first wife Vivian Liberto (Andrea Cross) that blended their voices exquisitely across the stage in the melancholy tune.

The audience clapped along during upbeat gospel songs and during the lively duets between the younger Cash (Jonas Shandel) and his second wife June Carter (Samantha Currie) like ‘Jackson.’ The song ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ was enormously impressive and catchy, with Shandel, Currie and Brummund switching in to zip through verses of the geographic smorgasbord of a song.

Shandel does most of the singing as the younger Cash, while Brummund is the narrator and the grown-up, reflective Cash looking back on his life and love. The rest of the cast lends their voice and talents to supporting roles musically and through scenework.

The love story between Cash and Carter forms the anchor of the show, with the duet “Far Side Banks of Jordan,” closing the show as June (Currie) foretells that if she dies first (which she did) she’ll wait in Heaven for Cash.

The audience rose in several standing ovations at the end, leading to an encore performance of ‘A Boy Named Sue.’

The cast includes artists who will be familiar to the audience and newcomers to the festival stage, including Brummund, Shandel, Currie, Cross, Alexander Baerg, Scott Carmichael, Daniel Kosub and Mark MacRae.

Outstanding work was also done behind the scenes, from set/projection designer Erin Gruber, costume designer Crystal Hanson, sound designer Paul Tedeschini, live mixer Andrew Nicholls, lighting designer Rebekah Johnson, stage manager Anne Taylor and apprentice stage manager Linzi Voth.

Conceived by William Meade and created by Richard Maltby Jr., Ring of Fire is a musical biography about hitting rock bottom and finding the faith to carry on. Chemainus Theatre has done a brilliant job in bringing it back for a second season and Cash fans and newcomers alike will be wowed by the show.

Ring of Fire runs until April 23 with both evening and matinee shows. For tickets call 1-800-565-7738 or visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Community Centre Elder College celebrates 20th anniversary

Volunteer instructors are the key to success.

Flashback: Teddy bears, dinosaurs, cougars, oh my!

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

Drivesmart column: Clear your frosty windows BEFORE driving

85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read