BWW Review: THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB at Wichita Community Theatre, The Perfect Girls' Night Out
For their final production of the 2018-2019 season, Wichita Community Theatre proudly presents The Dixie Swim Club-a Jones Hope Wooten comedy. For those unfamiliar to these three authors dubbed "America's Playwrights" one may recognize their other works such as The Savannah Sipping Society which appeared at Wichita Community Theatre last year or most notably their comedic writing for The Golden Girls. The Dixie Swim Club is definitely a play that showcases wonderful similarities to the television sitcom. Directed by Leroy Clark, The Dixie Swim Club runs from now until July 28th at 258 N. Fountain.
The plot centers around five main women who were colleagues on the swim team in college. Every August, they gather at a cottage in North Carolina to catch up, gossip, and support each other through their friendship. Starring Chelsea Lee (Sheree Hollinger), Crystal Meek (Dinah Grayson), Amy Haist (Lexie Richards), Cheryl Pearce (Jeri Neal McFeeley), and Mary Lou Phipps-Winfrey (Vernadette Simms), this play discusses themes of romance, divorce, PMS, sex, and aging to name a few. It is comprised of two, standard acts with one intermission; running time is approximately two hours.
Opening scenes are hilarious as they introduce each of the characters and their dispositions to the audience. Chelsea Lee as Sheree is wonderful right off the bat, shoving appetizers in many of the players' mouths, ultimately being spit out into house plants. Crystal Meek as Dinah is a jokester with a drink always nearby. The 'Betty White' of the group would be Cheryl Pearce. Her character Jeri was a former nun who winds up miraculously getting pregnant. She's always telling outlandish tales and stories as well which may not even relate to what is happening at the moment. Amy Haist portrays Lexie Richards, the sex-pot, 'Blanche Devereaux' with fun, sensual charm. Haist, a newcomer to Wichita Community Theatre, is an excellent find. Rounding out the cast is Mary Lou Phipps-Winfrey as Vernadette, who seems to be accident prone with troubles always around the corner. She gets to deliver a great monologue in act two about biscuits being served in the cottage, earning Phipps-Winfrey show-stopping applause. All the ladies had delightful southern accents and a chance to relive the glory days with a group swim in the buff. While the acting was well executed with good timing, it may be wise for the future if the performers overemphasized any props or traits to make a clearer indicator of their characters temperament and story.
The set was simple and designed by Phipps-Winfrey having resemblances to The Golden Girls scenery. Sound design was by brothers Dan Schuster and Mark Schuster without any noticeable noises of the system restarting. Jen Libertine held the title of stage manager with a crew of about three volunteers. While the team was efficient, there was one particularly long scene change in the first act for performers to change costumes and props to be removed and added.
Amid core values such as professional ethics, respect, and safe creativity, Wichita Community Theatre comedically conveys the importance of holding on to just one more day with The Dixie Swim Club. This show is the perfect girls' night out.
What: The Dixie Swim Club
Where: Wichita Community Theatre, 258 N. Fountain
When: July 17-28, All shows are at 8pm except Sundays at 2pm
Cost: $15 Adults, $13 Students/Seniors/Military
For Reservations call 686-1282
Facebook: Wichita Community Theatre
From left to right: Chelsea Lee (Sheree Hollinger), Cheryl Pearce (Jeri Neal McFeeley), Mary Lou Phipps-Winfrey (Vernadette Simms), Amy Haist (Lexie Richards), and Crystal Meek (Dinah Grayson). The Dixie Swim Club runs from July 17-28 at Wichita Community Theatre, 258 N. Fountain.