Curtain Call: A theatrical dive into friendship

When it comes to female friendships, it doesn’t matter whether women are from the North, South, East or West. When women bond, it’s for life. Imagine then, a team of five college women who are on a swim team and become so close that they decide to get together every year in August at a beach house in North Carolina. These Southern gals make up the cast of Community Theatre At Woodbury’s (CTAW) “The Dixie Swim Club” created by writers Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. If the names of these writing collaborators are not familiar to you, their work on shows such as “Golden Girls,” “Murphy Brown,” and “Newhart” should certainly ring a bell. They are pros and know a thing or two about comedy.

The Dixie Swim Club

Maureen Denver directs this production with an eye toward artistic unity, allowing each character to shine without eclipsing another, and since the cast does such a good job bringing its characters to life, audiences reap the benefits and enjoy a most entertaining performance. Bringing these characters to life is not easy since they tend to be types. Instead of typecasting we have type or stock characters which embody stereotypical features.

However, the actors here round off their characters enough to make them fuller and more believable, This is a testament to the skills of this cast and director. Catherine Annulli plays the sexpot, Lexi, who does whatever it takes to keep looking good. And Annulli looks good. Since the play unfolds over 30 years plus, this includes plastic surgery for Lexi who has had a fair share of husbands. Though the other women tire of hearing her divorce woes, they always stand by their friend.

Peg Anson delivers a perfect overachieving successful career woman, Dinah. Anson plays the role with such nonchalance that it seems to be her alter ego. Dana Comerford Bruton plays the logical and dependable Sheree. Bruton takes charge so effortlessly in this production that one believes she must be the confident organizer in real life. One can only hope that such is not the case for Loryn Ray who plays down on her luck Vernadette. Not only is this character the mother of troublesome children, but she is accident prone as well. Ray pulls off the role with an extra helping of humor. Shannon Sniffin plays Jeri who makes one of the best and funniest entrances ever. Once a nun, Sniffin plays the good girl with plenty of surprises, which helps her round off her character.

David Macharelli’s set features all the charming touches one would expect to find in a summer rental and Jack Kearney’s props, Bill Geddes’ lighting, and Dennis Walsh’s technical prowess contribute to the overall ambiance of the show. “The Dixie Swim Club” plays through May 19. Box office: 203-405-3855.

Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: jgrochman@gmail.com.