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Review: 'Dixie Swim Club' at Beef & Boards

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"The Dixie Swim Club" at Beef & Boards.
  • "The Dixie Swim Club" at Beef & Boards.

Sparkling, sassy, soulful, The Dixie Swim Club surprises at every turn through crisp repartee centering on topics ranging from personal joys and trauma to global concerns. Humor arising from five well-defined characters mitigates heart-wrenching moments.

Playwrights Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten have created a microcosm of realistic events spanning thirty-three years and showing aging from 44 to 77. Upon graduation, the members of the close-knit college swim club agree to meet annually at a beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for an August weekend retreat. We first encounter them at middle age and follow them through twists and turns of aging with its minor alterations and huge changes.

Actors Sarah Hund, Jill Kelly, Angela R. Plank, Rita Thomas and Laurie Walton maintain a crisp pace of relationships that seem as real as what might happen among our own circles. Applause is due also for director J.R. Stuart who maintains the balance between sentimental and strident as the characters reveal more than they intend about themselves and their feelings toward each other.

Michael Layton’s scenic design opens to a living room filled with nostalgia and comfort and selectively peels away ‘stuff’ in concert with the peeling away of layers of socially acceptable behavior for succeeding scenes. By play’s end we’re down to the bare bones of humanity and real estate.

This touching comedy is an outstanding opening production for Beef & Boards' 2012 season. Through Feb. 12.

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