It will bring moments of uncontrollable laughter. It will also cause more than one tear to fall by the end of the show.
“The Dixie Swim Club” is a character-driven comedy. The difference, by my own definition is that while some comedies have people saying funny things, character-driven comedies have people saying things that are funny because of their character.
Most of us prefer character-driven comedies. The problem is that presenting a character-driven comedy is much more difficult and requires a talented cast and director.
Easley is fortunate that this production has both and is presented flawlessly.
We’ve come to expect perfection from any production directed by Jimmy O. Burdette. He seems to have a special talent for bringing out the best from any script and every cast.
The play features the story of five women who were on the same college swim team as they have an annual reunion at a beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The first scene is set 22 years after the characters have graduated from college. We learn about each character’s lives, and their interaction with other paints the picture of their close friendship.
Each scene progresses five years, until the final scene which is set 23 years later as the women visit the Outer Banks cabin for the final time.
Although the five women are the only characters who appear on stage, we are introduced to other characters through their stories. Our imagination brings those characters to life during the play.
Lisa Burns plays the overly organized, health-conscious Sheree Hollinger. Burns does a wonderful job portraying Sheree’s attention to detail. Sheree provides healthy, but largely uneatable snacks for her four friends. The girls humor her, but dispose of those snacks when she’s not looking.
Sheree is the only character who seems to be in a happy marriage. But still there are worries and woes that come with what seems to be a perfect life.
Easley resident Beth Munson plays the career-minded Dinah Grayson, Dinah’s too busy with her law practice to be bothered with a personal life. That dedication begins to wear on her as the years pass. Munson does a great job of keeping Dinah as somebody who is dedicated completely to her job, but has very little interest in anything else. She doesn’t allow Dinah to fall into the stereotype of boring, lifeless person.
Valerie Seitz of Pickens plays Jeri Neal, the teammate whose life changes the most during the play. Apparently, Jeri left college and joined a convent. By the end of the play, she is married with a child. What happens in between there is hilarious.
The play program says that Seitz auditioned for the part to accomplish one goal of her “bucket list.” Her inexperience certainly did not show in her performance. Let’s hope she catches the “acting bug” and appears in more Foothills Playhouse productions.
Paula Doolittle is over-the-top as Lexie Richards, the vain, mouthy team member who always seems to be going through a divorce when the swim club has its annual retreat.
As the most outspoken member of the team, much of the plays interaction goes through her character. Doolittle does a wonderful job of making Lexie the seemingly shallow character that the audience cannot help but adore.
Much of the comedy in the play goes through the character of Vernadette, played by Kay Cole. Vernadette’s life, as they mention in the play, seems like one long country music song. Her husband seems to be the perfect redneck, and her son and daughter are always in some form of trouble — or incarceration —throughout the play.
Vernadette’s luck doesn’t end with her family. In each scene, she’s suffering from the affects of some kind of accident. In one scene she’s on crutches. In another she’s wearing a neckbrace.
Vernadette tries to make the best of her life, and envies the success of her four teammates. But she remains proud throughout they play, no matter how bad her life back home gets.
She also has the sharpest sense of humor. When Jeri Neal asks Vernadette if she had it to do over again, would she have children, Veradette answers, “Sure, just not the same ones.”
Between scenes you can tap your toes to music by a four-piece band that plays anything from bluegrass to gospel to Elvis Presley favorites
The final three performances of “The Dixie Swim Club” will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Come early for a 30-minute concert by the band, beginning 7:30 p.m on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
For reservations, call 855-1817.