By Dan Bechtold, Editor
Who thought the notion of baking a red velvet cake could be so funny.
Riotously funny is the only way to describe the wonderful production of the “Red Velvet Cake War” presented by the Winner Community Playhouse. The opening weekend was Friday and Saturday. But you still have a chance to see this great play that showcases some wonderful talent on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21. To make a reservation persons can call the playhouse at 842-1958. The doors open at 7:30 p.m. and play starts at 8 p.m.
This southern fried comedy takes place in Sweetgum, Texas, as the three Verdeen cousins are planning a family reunion. Gaynelle, Peaches and Jimmie Wyvette could not have picked a worse time to throw their family reunion. You see, it is a traumatic time for Gaynelle. Her husband has run off with his girlfriend and in retaliation Gaynelle has “accidentally” run her car into the double wide trailer home of what she calls a man-stealing woman. Gaynelle subsequently faces various legal charges as well as being observed by a court appointed psychologist who is checking on her sanity.
Now the Verdeen family reunion is usually presided over by an overbearing aunt LaMerle. The aunt wants to cancel the reunion because of Gaynelle’s scandal but the Gaynelle and her cousins insist the reunion go forward.
Besides, Gaynelle bets her house with LaMerle that she can make a better tasting red velvet cake than her aunt who annually takes home the prize for the best cake. Let the war begin!
Cast in the roles of the Verdeen cousins are Sarah Gustafson as the suitably attired proprietress of Whatley’s Western Attire. Gustafson’s droll delivery and deadpan approach to this character are wonderful.
Tami Comp is good as Gaynelle who takes up the challenge to make the best red velvet cake.
Kara Connot has a grand time as Peaches whose trucker husband left home one night years ago and never returned.
The chemistry between the women who play the cousins is a delight to the audience.
Michele Hagenlock is matronly as the overbearing aunt.
Barb DeSersa has fun as busybody neighbor, Bitsy, who has her eyes on a recently widowed neighbor. But she has competition as one of the Verdeen cousins, Jimmy, also eyes the same man. I don’t want to go into too much detail but you have to see the fight scene between DeSersa and Sarah Gustafson.
Enter into this wild family mix a one eyed suitor Newt Blaylock, owner of the Wig N’ Worm outlet founded by his late mother. Winner High School teacher Wyatt DeJong is wonder as Newt. This is DeJong’s second appearance in a Winner Community Playhouse Production. DeJong has some eye popping lines in this production.
Rounding out the cast are Tia DeSersa as a German psychologist, Kenzie Irick as Cee Cee Windham, a local TV personality; Jack Frantz as the sheriff and Chris Frantz as Purvis Verdeen. All were wonderful.
But for me, the show stoppers were Maurice Gustafson as the old uncle Aubrey and Linda Waton as Mama Doll Hargis. What a super job!!! They can shuffle along with the best of them.
Sandra York directs this funny play and used her ability to allow the characters to act their part for all its worth. York was able to bring out the best in the actors and actresses.
Dan Patmore, as technical director, designed the set of the Verdeen living room.
Though there area a lot of scenes in each act, good use is made of having some scenes played in front of a drawn curtain. It was effective and kept the play moving.
It is a must see and one of the funniest plays the Winner Community Playhouse has ever presented.
Kudos to all who made this possible.