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The Savannnah Sipping Society
a Comedy
by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, Jamie Wooten

COMPANY : Gypsy Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Sylvia Beard Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4859

SHOWING : February 11, 2016 - February 28, 2016



In this delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy, four unique Southern women, all needing to escape the sameness of their day-to-day routines, are drawn together by Fate – and an impromptu happy hour – and decide it’s high time to reclaim the enthusiasm for life they’ve lost through the years. Randa, a perfectionist and workaholic, is struggling to cope with a surprise career derailment that, unfortunately, reveals that she has no life and no idea how to get one. Dot, still reeling from her husband’s recent demise and the loss of their plans for an idyllic retirement, faces the unsettling prospect of starting a new life from scratch – and all alone. Earthy and boisterous, Marlafaye, a good ol’ Texas gal, has blasted into Savannah in the wake of losing her tom-cattin’ husband to a twenty-three-year-old dental hygienist. The strength of her desire to establish a new life is equaled only by her desire to wreak a righteous revenge on her ex. Also new to town, Jinx, a spunky ball of fire, offers her services as a much-needed life coach for these women. However, blinded by her determination and efforts to get their lives on track, she overlooks the fact that she’s the one most in need of sage advice. Over the course of six months, filled with laughter, hilarious misadventures and the occasional liquid refreshment, these middle-aged women successfully bond and find the confidence to jumpstart their new lives. Together, they discover lasting friendships and a renewed determination to live in the moment – and most importantly, realize it’s never too late to make old friends.

So raise your glass to these strong Southern women and their fierce embrace of life and say “Cheers!” to this joyful and surprisingly touching JONES HOPE WOOTEN COMEDY!

Director Mercury
Marlafaye Mosley Judith Beasley
Jinx Jenkins Lory Cox
Dot Haigler Bobbie Elzey
Randa Covington Eileen Koteles
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On a Savannah Veranda with Randa
by playgoer
Monday, February 22, 2016
"The Savannah Sipping Society" is chock-full of nuts, and I don’t mean that coffee is the beverage of choice! Four unattached ladies, each with her own eccentricities, meet by chance as a result of their shared hatred of a hot yoga class, and spend the next six months building a deep friendship as they sip various alcoholic drinks on Randa’s Savannah veranda. There’s an abundance of laugh-out-loud lines and enough plot complications to ensure that the sentimentality of the heartwarming conclusion is earned.

Visually, this is a stunning production. Mercury’s set design hangs a couple of gables above an elegantly designed multi-level veranda for a sophisticated, cheery look. Spanish moss hangs above, echoing the woodsy, muted backdrop. Danielle Gustaveson’s costumes show a wide range of character-appropriate and plot-appropriate looks, with some exceptionally lovely looks for Eileen Koteles (Randa). (Ms. Gustaveson also had a workout providing the numerous props.) Joel Coady’s lighting design illuminates the veranda as appropriate for the script’s time of day or night and also provides pools of light downstage for narration and other small scenes. Mercury’s sound design provides scene-transition music and some nice nighttime insect sounds.

Performances also impress, even during the many holds for laughter. Judith Beasley gets the lion’s share of one-liners as Texan divorcée Marlafaye, and she plays them expertly. Eileen Koteles somehow plays Randa with both an edge and a vulnerability that coexist in a coherent character, and her impressions of others wow with their range. Bobbie Elzey has a sweetness as Dot that immediately puts the audience on her side, with a sly delivery that imparts an added zing to her humorous lines. Lory Cox plays Jinx with a bit too much of a face-front presentational style, especially in her initial scenes, but eventually blends in with the others, and her 11 o’clock soliloquy has real power (with "11 o’clock" being a theatrical term usually indicating a big solo number near the end of a musical; the show itself clocks in at little more than two hours). Danielle Gustaveson’s role as Randa’s grandmother is brief and comic, so it doesn’t matter much that she bears little resemblance to a 91-year-old, especially with those long, shapely legs.

There’s not a lot of new ground tilled in this play; it depends on easily-recognized characters and man-bashing jokes to make its points. There’s a sweet heart and a jokey exterior, which makes for a very enjoyable evening, targeted toward a middle-aged female audience (although the man next to me couldn’t help himself from uttering a hearty "that’s funny!" in the wake of one particular joke, and male laughter joined female laughter throughout). "The Savannah Sipping Society" is another Jones Hope Wooten delight in this world premiere production. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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