Shelly Marquart-Reid, Charlotte Hammett-Hubrich, Diane Stretz-Thurmond, Julia Kean, & Megan Burnett. Photo: Eve Theater Company
The Dixie Swim Club
By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten
Directed by Kate Scinta
Review by Brian Kennedy
Entire contents copyright © 2019 by Brian Kennedy. All rights reserved.
After a slow start, Eve Theatre Company’s The Dixie Swim Club blossomed into a wonderful through-the-years tale of friendship.
The play features five longtime friends who meet at a vacation home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina each August to reconnect, reminisce, exchange secrets, and have a weekend without the interference of outside priorities, like work or men.
The women are of differing personalities. Dinah (Shelly Marquart-Reid) is career-focused, lacking sufficient time for a personal life. Lexie (Diane Stretz-Thurmond) is in constant pursuit of men and makes attempt after attempt to keep looking youthful. Vernadette (Megan Burnett) has reached a point of acceptance of the constant chaos in her life. Jeri Neal (Charlotte Hammett-Hubrich), a former nun, has reached a life-altering point in her life. Last, but certainly not least, Sheree (Julia Kean), the captain of the swim team, remains the leader and attempts to keep things organized.
Sometimes, these personalities and life choices come into conflict with different members of the club. The one thing that remains certain, however, is enduring friendship.
That friendship, though, was a little hard to determine early due to a few flubbed lines (though recovered) as well as several moments where more emotion or reaction was needed. When one of the characters reveals an emergency situation in the first scene, there needed to be more urgency. Instead, it felt more like they were leaving to get some last-minute things at a supermarket.
The first act problems seemed fixed just before intermission when the women reveal their grievances towards the others. Each character hit the correct note as they vented, argued, and, eventually, found forgiveness. Reid’s reactions and facial expression choices for Dinah were a story in themselves, forcing focus on her despite not always being in the middle of the moment. Also, Burnett’s amused delivery of Veradette’s one-liners gave the scene a much-needed extra dimension of levity in these tense moments. Overall, this was the best scene of the show.
Such interactions continued all the way through the second act, even as new, sometimes serious, challenges are faced. This shows that the first act issues may have been the result of it being the first scene of the first show.
As long as the actors hit the right dynamics on a consistent basis, Eve Theatre Company’s The Dixie Swim Club is a good show that its targeted audience of middle age or older adults should enjoy.
The Dixie Swim Club
July 26, 27, August 1, 2 & 3 @ 7:30 PM
July 28 & August 4 @ 2:30 PM
Eve Theatre Company
At Kentucky Country Day Theatre
4100 Springdale Road
Louisville, Kentucky 40241
Brian Kennedy is a nearly life-long Louisville resident who has performed in plays since 2004. He also wrote extensively about the Louisville theatre scene for Louisville.com and Examiner.com from 2009-2015. Currently, he maintains the theatre blog LouBriantheater. When not involved in the theatre scene, he is an avid runner, participating in 5Ks throughout the state and in southern Indiana.