The Dixie Swim Club at NCSU's "Southern Comfort"-themed Theatrefest 2011 | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

The Dixie Swim Club at NCSU's "Southern Comfort"-themed Theatrefest 2011 

Your enjoyment of The Dixie Swim Club, the first entry in N.C. State University's "Southern Comfort"-themed Theatrefest 2011, will depend on how many times you've seen this story before. There have been many tales of Southern women holding on to lifelong friendships throughout ups and downs, Steel Magnolias being perhaps the best-known example. This particular interpretation does nothing innovative to the concept, but for some audience members, it's a serviceable introduction to this oft-told tale.

The story consists of four scenes at an Outer Banks beach house where the five members of the titular college swim team reunite for an annual weekend where they can "give each other advice and not wear bras for three days." The crew consists of health nut leader Sheree (Suzanne Kennedy), much-married Lexie (Donna Rossi-Youngblood), ex-nun Jeri Neal (Sandi Sullivan), perpetually unlucky Vernadette (Kathy Norris) and career-driven lawyer Dinah (JoAnne Dickinson). Each interval brings revelations of new developments with children, husbands, health problems, romance and the problems of aging, met with the battle cry of "The faster we swim, the sooner we win!"

The play is yet another Southern-fried comedy by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten (known collectively as "Jones Hope Wooten"), the team responsible for the likes of Dearly Beloved and Dearly Departed. This production has a more restrained feel than those plays, with fewer of their over-the-top elements (there's still plenty of goofiness, including one scene where someone enters in a clown suit).

Much of the characters' riffing sounds like something out of a sitcom; the story line plays like something out of Designing Women (the show contains perhaps the longest monologue about biscuits in the history of theater) or The Golden Girls (Lexie could be cloned from the DNA of Rue McClanahan's Blanche Devereaux). Director and set designer John McIlwee does a good job of keeping the pacing fast and the material grounded, as does the cast, with Kennedy a standout as the relatively normal Sheree and Dickinson as the sharp-tongued Dinah.

There's nothing new in The Dixie Swim Club, but there's also nothing particularly objectionable in the ways it's done. Audiences not inured to this type of material will likely be entertained by it, but for those familiar with tales of aging female friends, be warned: You'll want to bring a scorecard to check off the clichés.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

Most Recent Comments

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

I'm wondering why Dorfman specifically chose the Death and the Maiden quartet - deriving from the song Der Tod und …

by trishmapow on Forgiving is not forgetting in Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation