“The Savannah Sipping Society” review
Awe, that sweet, southern charm. More specifically, Savannah.
Known for it’s pralines, beaches, porch-life and peaches and now the setting for The Barn Theatre’s, mid-winter production “The Savannah Sipping Society.”
The southern porch tranquility, designed by director Keith Green, brings together four uncommon “peaches” who are just as juicy as the fruit. Green chose a blend of talent that work together so well it leaves the viewer questioning if there was any rehearsal to be had; their symmetry on stage is impeccable.
Marlafaye, played by Michelle Gralish, dazzles with her natural, comedic timing. One is led to wonder if the lines were written just for her. She delivers with unbending timing and the oneliners come so quickly that one must silence his/her own laughter to be able to hear the next.
The younger, career-driven member of the ensemble cast is Randa. Darcy Lease Gubrud performs this part with preciseness and perfection. She is a quieter, more subdued and cautious character who displays the charm one would expect from a southern lady but we watch her evolve into a beautiful structure of strength by the end of Act II.
Stacy Neuhaus, as Dot Haigler, is the more mature and sweet element to the quartet. Even though she plays a character much older than her natural age, she performs as a veteran talent and the audience is never suspect of the difference. She delivers a beautiful emotion to the stage that creates the balance and symmetry spoken of earlier.
Lorie Skaro-Johnson plays the final member of the quartet ensemble. Her character, Jinx Jenkins, is the forever optimist. She is the spunk, the energy, and the strong presence and Lorie acted it splendidly.
Don’t let the title of this production lead you to believe that all is centered around the consumption of adult beverages. Quite the contrary.
This viewer chose to believe that the “sipping” portion of the title is meant to be symbolic for journey. It signifies the slow, ease of journeying through life after valleys. Journeying into empowerment of self through and with the spirit of friendship.
These four, diverse, Savannah “sipping” sisters find commonality in each other’s curve-balls and while peeling back the onions of their lives they find joy, laughter and strength.
Kudos to Karen Madsen for a fantastic job costuming the actors. Stage manager/assistant to director is Kirsten Campbell and sound operator Ryland “RJ” Gralish.
Once again, Willmar’s community, theatrical staple doesn’t disappoint. Quality acting, directing, set-design, costumes and sound assure for an evening or afternoon of entertainment.
“The Savannah Sipping Society” performance dates are 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Barn Theatre in downtown Willmar. Tickets available at the box office, by calling 320-235-9500 or on the theatre website.