‘Sweet Delilah’ Served Up a Delicious Diversion

Left to right: Phyllis Novy, Sally Holbert, Jess Alberts, Janine Schneck, Kathy Miller

The heat was on in Arizona this July, but a cool breeze of hilarity was enjoyed by audiences attending Sun Lakes Community Theatre’s (SLCT) summer production, The Sweet Delilah Swim Club, expertly directed by Merrie Crawford.

Women especially related to the five characters as they deftly moved through decades of annual reunions at Outer Banks, N.C. But men weren’t left out, because they could identify with wives, sisters, or daughters whom they’ve seen go through many of these stages of aging, coping and surviving the ups and downs of everyday living.

The five actresses displayed real depth in their portrayal of these divergent swim team members who just had to get together every year to share each other’s trials, triumphs, and tribulations. Each character grew as the years went by, bringing the story to life in touching ways.

Jeri Neal (well played by Kathy Miller) offered the biggest surprise when, after years of her service as a nun, she showed up pregnant (by choice) and proceeds through raising a toddler, marrying a younger man, and, finally, celebrating her son’s marriage. Kathy captured Jeri Neal’s nativity and innocence well.

Sherree (solidly portrayed by Jeanine Schneck) never let a day, menu, or disaster go unplanned as she herded her friends through years of challenges that she was sure could be overcome with healthy eating and exercise. Jeannine hit exactly the right notes with her tone of voice and command of the stage.

Lexie (alluringly played by Jess Alberts) never wavered in her quest to beat back aging and keep a wedding ring on her finger, despite failing miserably at matrimony and having to fight a bout of cancer. Jess looked the part and kept that unmistakable trait of Southern charm, laced with a wicked tongue, throughout the show.

Dinah (enduringly portrayed by Sally Holberg) had the audience in stitches with her sharp wisecracks and her constant boozing. Sally did an outstanding job showing the many facets of Dinah: powerful, self-sufficient lawyer; warm, compassionate friend; and vulnerable, aging woman who decides life is too short to spend it working. It was not missed by the audience that she was the first to pass away—another poignant moment in this show.

And, finally, Vernadette (expertly played by Phyllis Novy) who just couldn’t catch a break, well, unless it was an arm or ankle. Phyllis played the part with just the right mix of pitiful, realistic, yet good-natured pessimism that kept the audience laughing hysterically. And let’s face it, her line, “You know, of all the things God created, elastic waistbands are my favorite,” is something we can all agree on.

SLCT had a hit of a show with this one. If you missed it, stay tuned for the fall production, Rex’s Exes, playing in November. For more info on SLCT and their activities, go to www.slctinfo.com.