Refresh your theatre-going with LCP
In the past year, what have you been craving more than good company and a tall drink? The Savannah Sipping Society provides just that - the comforts of rediscovering friendship after a period of loneliness. The show runs at Lake Country Playhouse through May 23rd.
All photos by Jim Baker. From left to right: the Bourbon cast (Stephanie Denyum Smith, Maggie Wirth, Becca Richards, Donna Daniels).
The production follows recently unemployed Randa Covington (Becca Richards), fresh divorcée Marlafaye Mosley (Maggie Wirth), and newly widowed Dot Haigler (Donna Daniels) as they hand over their lives to life coach Jinx Jenkins (Stephanie Demyun Smith) for a six-month trial to find joy in their next phase of life. The show oozes southern charm -- and the rebellion against it. The show is presented by two casts, this review referring to the Bourbon cast.
Stephanie Denyum Smith, Donna Daniels, and Maggie Wirth.
The cast is a delightful cocktail of character actors with a splash of straight-up life experience. Wirth brings a rowdy, rambunctious flair to her Marlafaye. The character brings Velveeta to a party, and when listening to Wirth howl off the set's quaint balcony to the street below, it just makes sense. Daniels' Dot has the stylings of a woman who just wants to have fun and let loose - a powerful rebound from the fresh heartbreak of loss. Smith, then, brings a dash of Multi-Level Marketing style to her Jinx. Her approach to life coaching evokes the same feeling as the "Hey girlies!", "boss babe" energy of a Facebook "small business owner"... And it lands. Then, as the show progresses, we get a glimpse of her vulnerabilities at the core of the shallow tendency.
To ground all of these wild types is Richards' Randa. The actress, despite often treading the LCP boards in comedic character roles, plays the nervous Nellie naysayer of the cast. She carries the role with an elevated grace that contrasts the chaos beautifully. The role ties everybody together.
Director Niki Cairns keeps the show at a fast pace with impeccable comedic timing. Her arrangement of the intimate LCP stage feels spacious, yet lived in. It is both practical and cohesive. In such a cozy venue, it can be challenging to strike a balance between empty and cluttered, and Cairns goes above and beyond in her design. The result is an ease of blocking which is never forced, nor ever stale.
Maggie Wirth, Donna Daniels, and Becca Richards.
The joy of the show is that, here in Wisconsin, patrons are likely to know all these personalities just as well as if we were in Georgia. The women are familiar. The show isn't dark or all too deep, but that is its power. The women are made strong again simply through the joys of shared company (and a little liquid courage). It stands to remind us all that we, too, may find comfort in company again moving into this new phase of life.
For those interested in seeing the Rum cast:
Roseann Fasi as Jinx Jenkins, Goo as Marlafaye Mosley, Michele McCawley as Randa Covington, and Patty Wilson as Dot Haigler.