Group Swim: PTD Productions' "The Sweet Delilah Swim Club" makes a splash on the importance of friends
The Sweet Delilah Swim Club celebrates the friendship of five women over time. Artwork courtesy of PTD Productions.
PTD Productions' The Sweet Delilah Swim Club is funny, heartwarming, and shows the beautiful bonds of five women just trying to get through life.
This comedy, written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, takes us to North Carolina and introduces us to a group of girlfriends who met swimming for their college swim team. Every year during the same weekend in August, they rent out the same beachside cottage in the Outer Banks and use that time to catch up with one another and have a yearly group swim. Time progresses rapidly in this show, with the first scene taking place 22 years after graduation and the characters in their early 40s. By the end of the show, another 33 years have passed and the ladies are in their 70s.
Marie Jones plays Sheree, the former captain of the team and the group’s Type A organizer. She has a set schedule for each day and gets overwhelmed if the schedule doesn’t go according to plan. Sheree's weird health food disgusts her friends even though they all pretend to like it. Jones’ performance is endearing and honest as she navigates a character learning to give up some control.
Rebecca Lane is the energetic Lexie, who is obsessed with retaining her youth and moving on to the next man in her life. Constantly talking about the latest surgery, nip, or tuck, she wears a different wig in each scene to show her constantly changing look. In an unexpected plot twist, she is diagnosed with a mystery disease, although she talks about losing her hair so one can guess a form of cancer. She voices how ironic it is that she spent her whole life trying to perfect her outsides, only to have her insides be the problem. The character of Lexie is extremely relatable, as a lot of people deny getting older, and Lane plays her with humility.
Next we meet Dinah, played by an on-point Jennifer Heimberg, the workaholic lawyer who always puts her career first and her love life on the back burner. When she gets to come to the cottage for the weekend, she finally has time to relax, and there’s always a cocktail in her hand no matter the time of day. She’s the one that always calls out the bullcrap but gets backed into a corner when it’s revealed that she’s dating one of Lexie’s ex-husbands.
Deena Baty as Vernadette is laugh-out-loud funny, with the best one-liners in the script. With one bad thing happening after another, Vernadette’s life is a mess with a deadbeat husband, a son constantly in and out of jail, and a new injury in every scene. Her house even burns down after getting struck by lightning. Even with all her misfortune, she tries to lift up her friends at every chance and shows us that life is too short to wallow in pity.
Lastly, Cindy Franklin plays Jeri Neal, a former nun who realizes her true calling in life is becoming a mother. She left her habit behind and got pregnant through artificial insemination in her 40s. Her story shows us that it’s never too late to change your plan in life and you should never be sorry about your past wants and desires. Franklin is sweet and sincere in this role.
Casting a show that spans many decades is a tough task, which shows due to the actors’ range of ages. But director Karrie Waarala put together a strong ensemble that works well together on stage. There’s a definite feeling of camaraderie between the five actors and they all support each other so well. The dialogue is fast, they pick up on each other’s cues quickly, and they genuinely laugh with each other.
The key to this show is friendship, and how they can help us get through our toughest times, and this group feels like a real girl gang. This team wins this show.
Marley Boone is a theatre professional that has been in the industry since 2015. While living in Philadelphia, she would write theatre reviews for DC Metro Arts.
PTD Productions' “The Sweet Delilah Swim Club" runs through November 19 at The Riverside Arts Center, 76 N. Huron Street, Ypsilanti. For tickets and further information, visit ptdproductions.com.