Sunday, January 15

Theater Review: Beef and Boards Dixie Swim Club

I like British farces. I really do. I look forward to Beef and Boards' tradition of opening every season with one. Now the powers that be have decided to switch things out and run a "regular" comedy for the opening show of the 39th season. Curious, I attended wondering if the changing of the guards was a wise choice.

Dixie Swim Club brings together, annually, the members of a college girls' swim team for a long weekend with "no men, no kids and no work." Martinis are definitely allowed, however, as are laughter, tears and bickering. Toss in loyalty, friendship and strength and you will have mixed up a potion of unconditional love as tasty as one of the cocktails consumed continually by Dinah, portrayed superbly by Rita Thomas.
Spanning a period of 33 years, the five southern women share their lives, trials and triumphs with sass and spunk. Through marriages, divorces, career changes, health issues and death, their team spirit makes their reliance on each other grow stronger with each passing year.
Destination Actor Sarah Hund portrays an Eyeore-esque character named Vernadette, whose life is full of one mishap and woe after another. The plucky lady greets her jinxed life with a wisecrack and smile.

Thomas portrays the career-driven attorney without a love life but plenty of mixed drinks and financial success.
Jill Kelly portrays Lexie, the over-the-top divorcee (again and again) who still believes the world revolves around her.
Sheree, played by Angela R. Plank, runs her life, and the lives of her friends, with the precision from her days as the swim team captain.
Sweet, naive Jeri Neal, performed by Laurie Walton, has just left her old existence behind and is on an exciting journey of all the firsts in life.

Reminiscent of every great chick flick and great for-females television program, DSC brings together the lives of women in an endearing, funny and poignant manner. The well written script (Nicholas Hope, Jessie Jones, Jamie Wooten) covers all the facets of a woman's life without harping on any one period more than others. Trimming down on specifics, such as wrinkles, and committing heavier coverage to the major events lends the play to more universal topics: Life. Love. Death.

Creating characters most people can relate to (or resemble themselves) gives credibility to the flow and blending of the women's lives. Challenges produce change and the ladies push each other, sometimes unwillingly, to reach inside themselves to be stronger, softer or kinder as the need arises.

Time will tell whether the British farce or southern comedy will win more of the audience affection. If I had to make a bet, however, I would not count out the ladies.

Bottom Line: If you are a fan of Menopause: The Musical, Church Basement Ladies or Steel Magnolias then you will howl with laughter and well with tears at Beef and Boards' Dixie Swim Club.

For shows, tickets and complete details, visit
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGO and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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