Surrey Little Theatre is starting off their new theatre season with a positively brilliant production of “The Dixie Swim Club.” The all-female cast delivers comedy, pathos, senility and warmth with equal ability. It was more than a delightful evening among friends – it was an experience.
The plot revolves around five southern women who all belonged to the same collegiate swim team and follows a few decades of their lives, as told through their annual get-togethers for a weekend in August. On the surface, this sounds like a ho-hum plot that has seen many renditions; to some extent, that is true. But isn’t that exactly what life is? It isn’t all high drama, and the cast brings these characters to life in an appealing and charming production.
Cathe Busswood is often found at SLT behind the scenes. Her larger-than-life personality is perfect for the role of Vernadette. I will long remember her rant about the right of all Southern women to enjoy biscuits as their God-given right.
And while Busswood is brilliant, the rest of the cast – Laurie Kortschak, Cindy Peterson, Mahara Sinclaire and Margaret Sherman – is equal in their delivery of characters we will not forget. You might remember Kortschak and Sherman from SLT’s season opener last year, “Calendar Girls.”
For “The Dixie Swim Club,” reserve your tickets now, as the show’s run looks to be sold out soon. This is getting to be a habit for SLT productions. I loved this production so much, I shook the hand of director Mike Busswood after the show. Didn’t need any words, the gesture said it all. You can call for ticket reservations at 604-576-8451 or visit Surreylittletheatre.com. This 76-seat theatre fills up fast, so please do not delay. You will truly be sorry if you miss this production. It runs until Nov. 19, and there might be holdovers, but don’t count on it.
CLICK HERE to read more story details about “The Dixie Swim Club.”
So now on to the survival of Surrey Little Theatre. Last season was mostly sold out, and this season seems to be heading the same way, with top-notch productions in an ambient environment.
For $20 you get a ticket and have money leftover for a snack. Sweet deal. There are always new people attending SLT productions, so it does have a positive impact on the community at large. Don’t just take my word for it – I hear it all around me. There is something mystical and magical about a live performance, and part of that scene is mingling with real live people and seeing real live people perform. Movies and TV are great forms of entertainment, don’t get me wrong. But you just cannot replace the humanity of community theatre. It benefits all of us, even if we never see a show.
As I have previously mentioned in this space, Surrey Little Theatre is potentially threatened by the widening of 184th Street at some time in the future. When this happens, there will not be access to the theatre. That, of course, is simply put, but it is time now for the City of Surrey to put this brilliant jewel on its Official Community Plan. Keep it operational. It is a gem that cannot be replaced.
What have other cities done when push comes to shove? Metro Theatre in Vancouver is presenting its 500th (!) show during their 54th-anniversary season. “Sense and Sensibility,” adapted for stage from the Jane Austen novel, runs to Nov. 19 at the theatre. For show info, visit Metrotheatre.com or call 604-266-7191.
Why would I mention a play happening in Vancouver? Let’s look at a little history. The Metropolitan Co-operative Theatre Society was founded in 1962 helped by a $5,000 grant from the city council to turn a derelict movie house into a live theatre. Eleven companies – White Rock Players, Vagabond Players, North Vancouver Community Players and West Vancouver Theatre Guild among them – combined to present Metro’s inaugural season. It was not until September of 1964, however, that they were able to move into the present location where an open house and black-tie gala heralded the opening night of White Rock Players’ production of “Dark of the Moon.” It was reviewed by James Barber, the Vancouver Sun theatre critic, as “a good play, well executed and one that sets a standard for Metro that is worthy of their investment.”
Community theatre helping community theatre. That’s what we do. Today, community theatre is not all amateurs, but a mix of pros and amateurs. We love our involvement, even though most of us receive no payment for our services. It’s our investment in our community. Sometimes, we just need a little help from our friends to keep on producing theatre worthy of sold-out houses. I am not James Barber, and this is not a major metropolitan daily newspaper. Still, believe me when I say, Surrey Little Theatre is worth the investment.