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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 1, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 40
Wedding Belles a light, pleasant evening
Arts & Entertainment
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Wedding Belles a light, pleasant evening

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Wedding Belles
Taproot Theatre
Through October 23


Taproot's new production, Wedding Belles, is a gentle, upbeat smile of a play about how a group of small-town friends put aside their worries to take care of a stranger. Alan Bailey and Ronnie Claire Edwards are the people who brought Taproot favorite Smoke on the Mountains to life.

It's 1942 in Eufala Springs, Texas, and the members of the Garden Club are having a meeting. Bobrita (Gretchen Douma), Violet (Kim Morris), Glendine (Pat Sibley), and Laura Lee (Karen Nelsen) are planning the annual gala in Laura Lee's backyard, But Laura Lee has been neglecting things since her husband disappeared during a hurricane rescue effort some months back. She has more important things to attend to, including young stranger Ima Jean (Charissa Adams), who she collected as Ima Jean was hanging around the bus station.

It turns out that Ima Jean is waiting for her fiancé to arrive and plans to marry him as he goes off to war the next day. After Ima Jean explains she is an orphan who has known little happiness, the women spring into action and decide to give her a wedding rather than allow her to marry in the courthouse alone. The suspense in the production has to do with whether the fiancé actually got on the bus or not, since he definitely didn't get off it. Will Ima Jean suffer another huge loss in her short life?

Each of the women is a distinct character - the two sisters have a life-altering disagreement, Laura Lee isn't grieving openly about her husband for fear of having to realize he's dead, and the town flirt, Glendine, is on her sixth or seventh husband. The fun of the production is watching these four veterans of the stage, Douma, Morris, Nelsen, and Sibley, chatter and natter at each other in sometimes unflattering dialogue, but the overlapping conversation and quick changes of subjects is amusing and sounds natural.

The pretty backyard set by Richard Lorig works beautifully, along with costumes by Sarah Burch Gordon and lighting by Jody Briggs. Director Karen Lund keeps everything humming along, even though there isn't much of an event in this play. Adams holds her own with the stage vets, and brings a solid sense of comic timing as she tries to speak to the women without interrupting them (a virtual impossibility) and gets yanked through their storm of plans. In fact, her central ability to take care of herself, come hell or high water, shines throughout.

The tale isn't deep and there's not a lot to learn, but it's a very pleasant evening in the company of these helpful women and their insistence on making this wedding a highlight of this young girl's life. Of course, all their conflicts get worked out in the process, but that's just what you expect from this kind of story. It's all tied up neatly in a bow and you can go home with a little smile on your face. For more information, go to www.taproottheatre.org or call 206-781-9707.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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