Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wetumpka Depot: "Cinnamon GRITS: Christmas in the South"

First seen in GRITS: the Musical a while back, Adrian Lee Borden, Desirae Lewis, Kim Mason, and Cindy Veasey are reprising their roles at the Wetumpka Depot in Erica McGree's Cinnamon GRITS: Christmas in the South. "Girls Raised In The South" explains the acronym of the title, and director Kristy Meanor takes audiences on a two-hour jaunt into the sometimes outrageous Christmas reminiscences of these four redoubtable women.

Staged on several holiday-decorated area platforms and an open space, the GRITS narrate several humorous situations that are familiar to us all, interspersed with traditional songs and carols, some of them given updated or inventively comic lyrics.

We know these women and their stories, and you don't have to be from the South to appreciate many of them...the predicament or challenge of "Re-gifting" is given an outrageous twist or two; "The Crazy Aunt Blues" capitalized on the women's abilities to impersonate all the cliche-ridden characteristics of eccentric relatives decked out in garish costumes; and "The Twelve Yummy Days of Christmas", featuring "five bourbon balls"  to a predictable drunken end, is a show-stopper.

There are touching sentimental reminiscences as well with such numbers as "I Never Knew Life Without You" and a few readings from Scripture, along with a medley of traditional carols to signal the true meaning of Christmas.

The ensemble actors have individual shining moments, but the key to this show is the feeling that they are good friends having a good time to celebrate their friendships. It's contagious. There is such a warmth coming from the stage, that audiences can't help but respond in kind....a fine way to usher-in the Christmas season.