Ocala Civic Theatre’s DIXIE SWIM CLUB Will Thank You For Being A Friend

Dixie-Swim-ClubThere is something very special about those friendships made in our college years. For me, my dearest and best friends’ to this day are the ones I made while in undergraduate college in upstate New York. I reminisced this exact point not more than three weeks ago, when by happen-chance my college bestie and I were in the same city for different reasons. The weekend flew by (so did the martinis) as we talked about everything happening in our lives with no sugar coating or egos. Just friends sharing life and life lessons.

After viewing the Ocala Civic Theatre’s quick witted and deeply moving staging of Dixie Swim Club the innate bonds of friendships so many years ago came rushing back to me. Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, Dixie Swim Club follows five Southern women whose friendships began on their college swim team an now they set aside a long weekend every August to reunite, reminisce and energize, Through time passages over several decades, we see how these woman, each with their own unique personalities and inner demons, have the ability to hug each other one second and cut each other down the very next. But it is that deep and unabashed knowing of truth that allows these woman to heal each other when one or more are at the breaking point.

Director Christine Perry has brought together a competent cast of seasoned actors who have great on stage chemistry together. Kim Wise (Jeri), Ginny Riley (Vernadette), Susan Morning (Dinah) and Laura Bradford (Sheree) certainly know how to deliver a laugh and the script allows each actor to have their truthful moment. But it was Danuta Jacob’s “Blanch Devaroux” inspired portrayal of Lexie that was a stand out as somebody emotionally breaking inside and covering up the internal scars with overt superficiality.

Technically the show is near flawless. Timothy J. Dygert set perfectly exudes the feels of a North Carolina beach house which is gorgeously lit by Robert P. Robins and Maureen S. Demers’ costumes mirror the different decades with flare.

Though often times the writing of Dixie Swim Club boarders on 80’s sitcom contrivances and at various points of Ms. Perry’s production the actors seemed under-rehearsed, this is still a worthy production that will lift your spirits and serve as a reminder of what truly matters in life and the importance of a true friend. In fact grab your best friend(s) and take them to the Ocala Civic Theatre. After the show, I guarantee you leave Dixie Swim Club with a little more love and respect for the special person we have the privilege of calling a friend.

DIXIE SWIM CLUB runs though November 30, 2014 at the Ocala Civic Theatre, 4337 East Silver Springs Boulevard (State Road 40) in the Appleton Cultural Center. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for full-time students (ID required for college students). For more information or to purchase tickets, call (352) 236-2274 or www.ocalacivictheatre.com. Full-price tickets will be available online (a service charge applies to online purchases).