Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wedding Belles - Taproot Theatre

Wedding Belles
Taproot Theatre
September 24 – October 25 2010
Tickets and Information

In 1942 Texas, the four ladies of the Eufala Spri

ngs Garden Club are coming together for a meeting in one member's somewhat bedraggled backyard. From the very beginning, it is clear that these women have a long history of friendship and bickering, and also that there are some subjects too sore to be spoken of.

Their plans for the day are entirely interrupted, however, when Laura Lee (Karen Nelsen) arrives bringing Ima Jean (Charissa Adams) from the bus stop—a young woman waiting to meet her solider fiance to get married, and immediately the four women jump into creating the perfect wedding. The action of the play revolves around these five women: the four elder have stagnated in their lives and relationships with each other, but the fresh Ima Jean, despite being an orphan, brings a new hopefulness and openness to them and their relationships.

L to R: Karen Nelsen, Charissa Adams and Kim Morris. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

Director Karen Lund has pulled together a sweet and warm regional premiere. The acting ensemble solidly highlights the long-term relationship among the four women, and all five actors bring out unique characters, including Kim Morris' Violet, who has many of the funniest moments of the show, and particularly Karen Nelsen, who carries both humor and melancholy with grace. The show is supported by satisfying technical elements, especially Richard Lorig's scenic design, which plants a back porch and garden onto the stage with a burst of color and brilliant use of space. Sarah Burch Gordon's costumes vividly recreate wartime dresses and smocks, and Mark Lund's sound design pipes in the crooning tunes of the 1940s.

The script itself, by Alan Bailey and Ronnie Claire Edwards, is light; there is not much substance beyond the immediate events onstage, and the war effort, while mentioned often, doesn't have the impact that it seems it should on these five lives. However, it is well-produced at Taproot with plenty of heart, and if you are looking for a sweet confection of a play with humor and fun, then Wedding Belles is for you.

(Photo coming soon!)

Review by Kenna M Kettrick