Almost everyone is familiar with the term
“chick flick,” but what should a work be
called if it appears in the theater? No
matter, whether on film or on stage
the same criteria applies to
The Dixie Swim Club.
Written by Jessee Jones, Nicolas Hope,
and Jamie Wooten, the plot revolves
around the lives of five diverse women
who were once members of a college
swim club. Since then, they meet every year to renew their friendship
and catch up with each other. All of the reunions take place in August in
a charming North Carolina beach house.
Reminiscent of uplifting Southern movies such as The Steel
Magnolias and The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, the plot revolves around the
trials and tribulations of old friends as they grapple with whatever
cards life has dealt them. Of course there are roadblocks, detours,
and disappointments along the way, but the gals’ loyalty–plus their
robust and bawdy sense of humor–sees them through everything
that happens from their early “Dixie Swim Club” days to their late seventies.
Hats off to director Jacqueline Gaston for allowing five disparate
female actors to shine and strut their stuff. Kudos to all of
them. With not a shrinking violet in sight, each one has found her
own voice to flesh out her character.
What a motley bunch this swim club has become. All of them have
a great sense of humor, and–not surprisingly for Southern belles–
all of them love martinis as much as they love life.
Linda Siegwald is perfect as Sheree, the former team captain who
organizes the reunions and plans the weekend’s activities. A
no-nonsense type who has a stable marriage, Sheree is a health-food
junky who plies everyone with tofu, wheat germ and yoghurt. By
contrast, Peggy Oels, plays Lexie, a sex-pot playgirl on the prowl who
has had more plastic surgery and divorces than she can remember.
Her performance is terrific as always.. Francine Rose is well cast as the
group’s most successful professional, Dinah Grayson, a high-powered
attorney who is making waves on her way up the ladder; and yes, she’s
so formidable she’s still single. Mary Wright
portrays Jeri Neal, a devoted nun for many years who shocks
everyone when she gets a different calling late in life.
Last but far from least is Rosa Leigh Sullivan, whose portrayal of
Vernadette almost steals the show. As the gang’s “hard-luck hound-dog,”
Vernie suffers one disaster after another, which she relates to her
friends with most of the play’s best punch lines. Never mind that
her husband’s a drunk, her son’s in jail, and her daughter ran away
to join a cult, Vernadette is just fine, thank you.
Put it all together, then present it at such a fast clip the
jokes keep coming to cover any pain or sorrow along the way. In
spite of illness, death and calamity, thanks to friendship and
laughter the gals march forward as life goes on.
The Dixie Swim Club plays March 16 through March 25 at Westbrook Village
in the Vistas Auditorium, 18825 N. Country Club Parkway in Peoria; Friday and Saturday
at 7:00, and Sundays at 2:00. Doors open 45 minutes early with BYOB.
Tickets for the Westbrook Village Players productions are available at
The Vistas Recreation Center in Westbrook Village. You may also purchase
your tickets by credit card for will-call by calling (623) 523-3997 or by
emailing TicketSales@WestbrookVillagePlayers.org with your table selection
and payment information. Please include your telephone number so we can
contact you for any question concerning the order. Please note there is a
$2.00 per ticket service charge for all credit card sales.
Get your tickets now!