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'Dixie Swim Club' does laps of laughs

May 7, 2013

Waukesha Civic Theatre's "The Dixie Swim Club" is the stage equivalent of a chick flick.

Nary a drop of testosterone is to be found in this story of five former members of a college swim team who gather annually at an Outer Banks cottage in South Carolina to relive the past, sort out the present and know that the future holds at least one certainty - that they will meet again.

The play is a tidy four scenes which show the women meeting at ages 44, 54, 59 and 77. Each meeting includes their team's mantra "The faster we swim, the more we win" and, of course, a dip in the ocean.

The five character types are firmly established.

Lexie (Jacqueline Gosz) is the consummate Southern belle who goes through husbands faster than biscuits at breakfast and isn't happy until the spotlight shines on her.

Sheree (Roberta Prospeck) is the health fanatic and organizer who makes sure everyone eats right - starting with organic appetizers the others can't stand that end up as plant fertilizer.

Dinah is a successful lawyer with little time or interest in family life. She gets every gathering rolling with her portable cocktail kit.

Vernadette (Patty Wilson) is the Bad Luck Girl who arrives each time with cast, crutches or neck brace after improbable accidents. Despite her couch potato husband and underachieving children, she maintains a sunny attitude.

Jeri Neal (Diana Randelzhofer) is a former nun who decides on a drastic life change with the support of her friends.

The only story here is that of friends sharing life and love through the years and how their distinct personalities and idiosyncrasies only make them more appealing as they age like wine. There are no dark clouds, no heavy drama or symbolism to mull. Fortunately, there are a few surprises, a few secrets revealed and a lot of funny moments as the quintet mull their marriages, children, careers, hopes and dreams.

The five make up a fine ensemble cast really held together by Beth Perry's Dinah. The room comes to life when she first walks into the cottage and starts handing out cocktails and zippy one-liners. Perry looks as comfortable as a deck rocking chair and keeps the humor humming. No one else in the cast can quite match her comic timing, which is in part due to her character's sarcastic nature.

Everyone in the cast has great lines to deliver, thanks to writers Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Dripping with a Southern drawl, Lexie describes the sculptured body of a handsome man on the beach to which Sheree deadpans, "He sounds like the underside of my car."

Hardly a moment goes by without the ensemble coaxing a laugh out of the audience.

Another plus is the airy, pale blue set featuring a bank of windows that looked onto an illuminated deck, mimicking a bright southern day, one with ominous storm clouds or a rosy tinge of setting sun. When the door opened, you could almost feel the breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. Nicely done.

IF YOU GO

Who: Waukesha Civic Theatre

What: The Dixie Swim Club

When: Through May 19

Where: 264 W. Main St.,

Waukesha

Tickets: (262) 547-0708

Information: www.waukeshacivictheatre.org

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