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The Hallelujah Girls

a Comedy
by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 3882

SHOWING : November 26, 2010 - December 18, 2010



Deliciously funny words from the Southern side of life.
Hilarity abounds when the feisty females of Eden Falls, Georgia, decide to shake up their lives. The action in this rollicking Southern comedy takes place in SPA-DEE-DAH!, the abandoned church-turned day spa where this group of friends gathers every Friday afternoon. After the loss of a dear friend, the women realize time is precious and if they're going to change their lives and achieve their dreams they have to get on it now! By the time the women rally together to overcome many obstacles and launch their new, improved lives, you've got a side-splitting, joyful comedy that will make you laugh out loud and shout "Hallelujah!"

Director Cathe Hall Payne
Mavis Judith Beasley
Bunny Katy Clarke
Porter James Connor
Sugar Lee Lory Cox
Carlene Sylvia Davenport-Veith
Nita Bobbie Elzey
Bobby Dewayne Alan Phelps
Crystal Abra Thurmond
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Wrought Iron Magnolias
by playgoer
Sunday, December 12, 2010

"The Hallelujah Girls" is highly reminiscent of "Steel Magnolias." It takes place in the South (Georgia rather than Louisiana); its single set is a beauty-related business (a spa rather than a hair salon); its cast consists of women of a certain age (primarily, though, rather than exclusively); and its scenes each take place during a specific holiday season. There are, of course, worse models for a show than the highly successful "Steel Magnolias."

Onstage Atlanta's production of "The Hallelujah Girls" does justice to the play in its performances. Judith Beasley hits all her punchlines as Mavis, a Laura Bush lookalike with the mouth of an uncensored Barbara Bush. Katy Clarke brings delicious wickedness to her role as the ill-intentioned Bunny Sutherland. Lory Cox plays the central role of Sugar Lee with energy and verve. The other women do fine, with Bobbie Elzey given silly spots to spout romance novel plots as Nita and Abra Thurmond given lots of silly holiday-themed get-ups as Crystal Hart.

The men do good work too. Hunky Alan Phelps makes a believable handyman as Bobby Dwayne, Sugar Lee's high school boyfriend. James Connor continues his string of very fine work as Momma's boy Porter Padgett, who declares his love for thrice-widowed Carlene (played by Sylvia Davenport-Veith). The company works well together, and is ably blocked by director Cathe Hall Payne.

The set, by Angie Short, effectively gives the impression of a former church renovated into a spa, but doesn't really seem rickety enough for the falling-down historical building that it's supposed to be. The back wall is used for projections before the show, at the start of new scenes, and at the end. Only the projections to introduce scenes really work. Before the show, the pictures projected seem to be a collection of beauty advertisements from a variety of years, vintage portraits, and snapshots of the cast. It confuses the audience as to the time period of the show. At the end, the projections suggest what happens to each character in the cast. Only one has any real punch and point (Porter Padgett and his aged mother wishing holiday greetings from years in the future).

"The Hallelujah Girls" is an amiable evening of theatre that seems to be pleasing audiences in Decatur. There are certainly plenty of funny bits and lines, and even one flat-out joke: Married women are heavier than single women because single women come home, see what's in the fridge, and go to bed; married women come home, see what's in the bed, and go to the fridge. That joke had one woman in the audience snickering long past the others. That's the type of show this is -- it tickles each audience member in its own way, bringing lots of laughs along the way. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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