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Swift Creek Mill Theatre The Dixie Swim Club

By • Jun 30th, 2014 • Category: Reviews
The Dixie Swim Club
Swift Creek Mill Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Swift Creek Mill Theatre, Colonial Heights, VA
Through August 2nd
2 hours, with intermission
$38 (Meal Extra)
Reviewed June 27th, 2014, 2014

The Dixie Swim Club, currently playing at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, is “The Golden Girls,” “Designing Women” and “Steel Magnolias” all rolled into one. This is not surprising since one of the writers, Jamie Wooten, also wrote for “The Golden Girls.”

The play follows the friendships of five classically southern women, who met on their college swim team in North Carolina. Every August, they hold a reunion at a cottage on the beach in the North Carolina Outer Banks. The action takes place when the women are 44, 49, 54 and 77. It shows how the bonds of friendship and team camaraderie stay with them through the good times and bad; through love and loss; in sickness and in health.

Sheree (Joy Williams) was the team captain, who still tries to run and organize everything. Lexie (Georgia Rogers Farmer) is the “Blanche” of these Golden Girls; forever obsessed with sex and a nip and tuck to stay young and beautiful. Vernadette (Jennifer Frank) is the long-suffering, hard luck case who keeps her sense of humor while weathering everything life throws at her. Dinah (Jody Strickler) is the “Dorothy” of the group; a strong, independent woman who is married to her legal career. Jeri Neal (Jacqueline Jones) comes close to being the “Rose” of the group — sweet, na├»ve and optimistic.

Tom Width’s direction keeps the dialogue moving and the action flowing as the women throw out the frequent set-ups, zingers and one-liners. While all the women display exceptional comedic timing, Frank’s dead-pan humor brings the biggest laughs. All five also admirably portray the women over 33 years, with minimal time for costume, wig and make up changes between scenes, but it is Farmer who is mesmerizing as she makes Lexie get “younger” through surgical enhancement and then age gracefully and believably.

Width’s set uses the wide, shallow stage well and creates a realistic bungalow feel through accents and terraces. Joe Doran’s lights enhance the set, especially with blue lights representing the reflection from the water. There were a couple of technical drawbacks, however, with lights reflecting off the windows, and extremely long set changes in the middle of each act.

It was also a bit confusing trying to follow the time period, and I am assuming this was a script issue. If the initial scenes are around 30 years ago, then references to cell phone’s charging seemed odd.

The ending, which of course I will not reveal, is touching and sweet without being schmaltzy. The five women of The Dixie Swim Club show that while aging is no day at the spa; you can walk through it with dignity and laughter.

Photo Gallery

Jody Strickler as Dinah and Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie, Jennifer Frank as Verandette, Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal, Joy Williams as Sheree, Jody Strickler as Dinah
Jody Strickler as Dinah and Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie
Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie, Jennifer Frank as Verandette, Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal, Joy Williams as Sheree, Jody Strickler as Dinah
Jennifer Frank as Verandette, Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal and Jody Strickler as Dinah
Jennifer Frank as Verandette, Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie
Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal and Jody Strickler as Dinah
Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie, Joy Williams as Sheree, Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal Jennifer Frank as Verandette, Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie, Joy Williams as Sheree and Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal
Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie, Joy Williams as Sheree, Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal
Jennifer Frank as Verandette, Georgia Rogers Farmer as Lexie, Joy Williams as Sheree and Jacqueline Jones as Jeri Neal

Photos by Robyn O’Neill

The Cast

  • Sheree: Joy Williams
  • Dinah: Jody Strickler
  • Lexie: Georgia Rogers Farmer
  • Jeri Neal: Jacqueline Jones
  • Vernadette: Jennifer Frank

The Crew

  • Direction and Scenic Design: Tom Width
  • Lighting Design: Joe Doran
  • Costume Design: Maura Lynch Cravey
  • Sound Design: Paul Deiss
  • Stage Manager: Jesse Mattes
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Cory Williams
  • Props Coordinator: Tom Width
  • Wigs: Robyn O’Neill
  • Lights/ Sound Board Op: Becky Lussier
  • Set Crew: Bob Foley, Jesse Mattes, Cory Williams, Eugene Mason
  • Lighting Crew: Becky Lussier, Jesse Mattes, Stephen West

Disclaimer: Swift Creek Mill Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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is by day a Special Education teacher, teaching History, Science and drama to Middle and High School students in a private Day School in Stafford. He has degrees in Educational Media and Special Education. He is also a part time Radio News Anchor and occasional actor in the Richmond area. Bruce is a native of New Jersey and spent most of his "adult" life in Upstate New York, where he started and ran a national award winning youth theater and cable television program for over 10 years. He has lived in Virginia since 2002, and in Caroline County since 2005, where he is active in many community groups; including serving on the Board of Caroline's Promise.

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