Monday, February 11, 2019

Wetumpka Depot: "Girls' Weekend"

The 39th Season at the Wetumpka Depot Theatre is showcasing one of its major strengths in Karen Schaeffer's Girls' Weekend. -- The Depot players are adept at farce with all its bold comical strokes, fast-paced action, broad characterizations, and split-second timing, all of which are delivered in spades by director Brady Walker's cast of Depot veterans and newcomers. Girls' Weekend is an uproarious romp that has audiences cheering and laughing throughout the sometimes raunchy two acts.

The premise is simple: four women go to a remote cabin in the dead of winter without their men to ostensibly discuss the latest volume their book club is reading; however, it becomes clearer moment by moment that the amount of wine they collectively bring (along with a generous supply of marijuana) will sidetrack any literary discussion. And the fact that three of the foursome plot separately to meet up with their men for romance and devise elaborate signals that are coincidentally alike to make their secret assignations happen, the scene is set for the mayhem that follows.

Come a predictable snow storm that cuts them off from the world, and the men shivering outside awaiting the women's signals, and a local sheriff to further complicate their schemes, the plot twists abound in the madcap goings-on that Mr. Walker choreographs with attention to slamming doors, dropped trousers, hyper-sexed partners, and uninhibited performances.

This is a well-toned ensemble of actors who unabashedly commit to the antics of the script, never losing sight of its comic possibilities: a shrug or a "look" or a dead-pan delivery, and mutual trust in one another helps make even the most bizarre behavior seem right.

A hapless sheriff [Lee Bridges], a couple determined to "make a baby" in the short time she is ovulating [Leanna Wallace and Brad Sinclair], a December/May couple trying to keep their relationship secret [Kristy Meanor and Blake Robertson], a Millennial woman and a local good-old-boy [Amber Rigby and Allen Jackson], and the weekend's hostess who gets drunk and stoned [Elaine Cash], and all the convoluted plot elements make for surprises galore, and almost constant laughter before an ending that restores much of the harmony that is well earned.

Well done, Depot Players.