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"Heck the Dolls With Chardonnay," November 18-20, December 9-11, Chapin Theatre Company, 240-8544.
"A Christmas Carol, the Musical," December 1-18, Town Theatre, 799-2510.
"A Christmas Story," December 1-11, Sumter Little Theatre, 775-2150.
"'Twas the Night...," December 2-10, On Stage Productions, 351-6751.
"The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical," December 2-17, Trustus Theatre, 254-9732.
"Cinderella," December 3-11, Columbia Children's Theatre, 691-4548.
"You Can't Take it With You," January 20 - February 5, Town Theatre, 799-2510.
" Boy," January 13-21, Trustus Side Door Theatre, 254-9732.
Press Releases for Current Shows
Camden Community Theatre
Chapin Theatre Company
Columbia Children's Theatre
On Stage Productions
Ritz Theatre of Newberry
SC Shakespeare Company
Sumter Little Theatre
Village Square Theatre
Original Play “Heck the Dolls With Chardonnay” Celebrates
Gal Pals and
Review by August Krickel
If you find yourself at a play being staged in American Legion Post
193 - formerly the old fire station in downtown
The play's framing device is a Thanksgiving visit to Sue by her
granddaughter Emma (Emma Bagley); Sue reminisces about holiday misadventures
long ago with her BFF Becky (Jessica Fichter) which then play out in extended
flashback scenes. Younger Sue is played by Tiffany Dinsmore, who created these
characters with Clyde two years ago in CCT's 'Tis the Season, and
The stage in what CTC now calls the Firehouse
Theatre is tiny, making the construction of realistic sets impractical, and
precluding any significant blocking. Instead, DeFelice does what he has to,
placing older Sue and Emma in chairs on stage right, while younger Sue and
Becky are seated at stage left in higher chairs at a kitchen island, i.e. a
free-standing counter area, where they can chat and drink freely. Accordingly,
most of the dialogue is spoken by stationary actors, but one doesn't mind,
thanks to the generally fast pace. The stage is otherwise bare, with only
lighting defining separate locations. One drawback, however, is that
Since this is literally a world premiere of an original work, it's appropriate to critique the material as well, since new plays often undergo many revisions. Overall, this is a sweet story that captures the importance of friendship - even if it's usually fueled by alcohol - in the lives of these two women, and by transference, women in general. Any time the story shifts away from them, action and interest wane. And while the framing device provides nice bookends for each successive episode, and while the scenes of the grandmother and her granddaughter are touching, I would have liked to have seen some stronger connection made between past and present, and perhaps some greater lesson learned by Emma from these tales. George Dinsmore turns up in one scene as his wife Tiffany's stage husband, and while it's always a treat to see him perform, this particular anecdote seems a little out of place. Ideally, I'd like to see that scene dropped (or saved for some future play about couples) and a one or two new scenes inserted, perhaps dealing more directly with the catastrophes that can happen during holiday celebrations. That said, there's a final twist that I probably should have seen coming a mile away, but it was a pleasant surprise for me, and certainly the piece's most definitive "Awwwwww" moment.
At the matinee I attended, the audience was at least 90% female, almost all baby boomers or older. There’s no question in my mind that Heck the Dolls with Chardonnay fulfilled 100% of their expectations, providing a pleasant 90 minutes of diversion and laughter with a local flavor. The show returns for four more performances only, Dec. 8-11. For information, visit http://chapintheatre.org/2016/heck-the-dolls.html.
“Cosi” at Longstreet Theatre Finds Laughter and Poignancy Within Madness
Review by August Krickel
Cosi, running through Saturday, Nov. 19 at USC's Longstreet Theatre, takes its name from the Italian title of Mozart's opera
Cosė Fan Tutte, meaning "So do they all." The final "E" in
"Tutte," however, signifies a feminine subject, and the usual
translation is "Women are like that." Tracing the obstacles and
tribulations encountered by a young director as he attempts to stage
a production of said opera with a cast of patients at a mental
institution, Cosi offers plenty of laughs, moments of poignancy
and tenderness, and most importantly, diverse acting opportunities for a
fresh new crop of departmental MFA students making
their Columbia stage debut.
Matthew Cavender takes top acting honors as Roy, a histrionic control-freak whose obsession with the Mozart opera sets the play's plot into motion. On opening night, Stewart got plenty of laughs as the aggressively sexual pyromaniac Doug, while Kaleb Edward Edley generated sympathy for his older, soft-spoken character Henry, who plays with toy soldiers as a tribute to his war hero father. Kimberly Braun was a veritable dynamo of emotion as manic Cherry, while Libby Hawkins created perhaps the most tragic figure as suicidal Ruth, whose obsessive-compulsive mannerisms give her tiny opportunities for control in a life that otherwise has spun out of control. The cast's sole undergraduate, Brooke Smith, expertly captured the officiousness of the institution's social worker. St. Andre's calm and placid demeanor anchored the tumult on stage, yet an argument scene between Lewis and Lucy, and an expertly-timed punch to Nick, were both gripping and believable. Realistic depictions of mental health issues notwithstanding, Nowra's script overflows with dark comedy, with Ruth's deadpan rendition of the song "I'm So Excited" - delivered without a speck of excitement - a highlight.
Engle's set, depicting a run-down rehearsal space and its tiny stage,
was necessarily minimalist, yet
completely credible, as was the suggestion of a fire escape landing
outside Lewis's apartment, creatively placed in the middle of the
audience. Director Steven Pearson has elicited natural yet detailed
characterizations from his actors, and timing is excellent
across the board. The audience surrounds the actors on three sides,
meaning that at any given moment one or more actors' backs will be
turned to a particular section; this led to some actors struggling to be
heard, while others, especially Smith, Cavender,
St. Andre, and Hawkins, projected with vigor and clarity throughout.
As one enters the space, the natural inclination will be to sit in the
center section, facing the faux stage; however, I’d recommend moving to
either the left or preferably the right sections
of seats, for maximum visibility and audibility.
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