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Dearly Beloved
a Comedy
by Jesse Jones, Nicholas Hope, Jamie Wooten

COMPANY : Marietta Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Theatre in the Square [WEBSITE]
ID# 5211

SHOWING : January 18, 2018 - February 04, 2018



The Futrelle Sisters, Frankie, Honey Raye and Twink, are throwing a wedding. Frankie has almost made herself sick with elaborate preparations for her daughter Tina Jo’s antebellum-inspired wedding, and the rumor mill in their small town of Fayro, Texas, is working overtime. No surprise there, the Futrelle Sisters have never been strangers to gossip. After all, they did survive the scandalous breakup of their almost-famous gospel singing trio, The Sermonettes. But Twink’s desperate attempts to get her boyfriend of fifteen-and-one-half years down the aisle, Frankie’s ongoing conversations with their dead mother, and Honey Raye’s tendency to race to the altar at every opportunity have kept tongues wagging for years. In spite of her own marital problems, Frankie has held steadfastly to the hope that she can pull off one “final Futrelle occasion” with elegance and style with the help of the cantankerous wedding coordinator, Miss Geneva, who runs the local floral shop/bus depot. But on the day of the nuptials, Frankie’s hope begins to dim when she discovers Twink’s alternative solution to an expensive catered wedding dinner is a potluck supper sponsored by Clovis Sanford’s House of Meat. When the prodigal Honey Raye arrives at the church in skintight gold lamé, consumed by hot flashes and a steely determination to right old family wrongs, Frankie’s hope is shaken. It is lost completely when word reaches the church that Tina Jo and her fiancé have fled Fayro and eloped. The sisters ultimately pull together to find ways to keep the unsuspecting guests in the pews while a highway patrolman races off to track down the runaway bride and groom. As a last resort, and to the delight of the citizenry of Fayro, Texas, The Sermonettes reunite and sing again.

Director Pete Borden
Wiley Hicks Mike Crowe
Raynerd Chisum Keith Franklin
Tina Jo and Gina Jo Dubberly Anjil Jeter
Justin Waverly Marcus Morris
Miss Geneva Musgrave Lynda Palmer
Honey Raye Futrelle Barbara Joanne Rudy
Dub Dubberly Kevin Tillery
Twink Futrelle Rene Voige
John Curtis Buntner Dave Watkins
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Dearly Belabored
by playgoer
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Director Pete Borden has done a great job in the Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square production of "Dearly Beloved" in terms of getting his actors to develop distinct characters and commit to them. Every member of the cast knows precisely who he or she is in the plot, and the line deliveries emphasize character at every turn. Unfortunately, aiding in character development is only part of a director’s job; blocking and pacing are equally important, and in both of these areas there are significant deficiencies. When ten actors are arranged onstage in a semi-circle, blocking has failed to deliver an interesting stage picture. When there is a lack of fluidity in scene after scene, pacing seems not to have been a prime consideration in getting the show ready for performance.

Set and props also disappoint. The set consists of disjoint pieces, none of which are particularly attractive, but which allow scene transitions to occur quickly. The script calls for food props to be cut and served, but the whole versions and the cut versions are obviously two different props that are switched with absolutely no subtlety (although actors might have loused this up at the performance I saw).

Costumes are good overall. Not all are flattering, and there are obviously no hoops in a hoop skirt, but they help to delineate character and are fairly attractive to view. Lighting is adequate, except for the too-bright light used for scene transitions, and sound is fine. This appears to be a production on a budget, given that a plastic cup is dashed to the floor instead of the glass one expected in the script, and the lack of budget shows throughout.

The talent displayed onstage is pretty even across the board. One standout is Anjil Jeter as identical twins Tina Jo and Gina Jo Dubberly. She makes the two entirely distinct, and her sweetness as Gina Jo captures the heart and hits the funnybone simultaneously. Barbara Rudy, as oldest Futrelle sister Honey Raye (although she looks the youngest), and Lynda Palmer, as Miss Geneva Musgrave, play their roles with assurance, which isn’t the case for all cast members. Most problematic is Marsha Fennel as youngest Futrelle sister Frankie (although she looks the oldest), who delivers her lines as if having to dredge them up from a depth of memory that prevents fluidity. Other audience members are likely to have other favorites.

The Jones-Hope-Wooten script of "Dearly Beloved" packs in a lot of entertainment, and in a first-rate production the show would fly past in a flurry of laughs. Here, the laughs are frequent enough, but don’t come fast. Perhaps the production will jell a bit more as the run continues. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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