Review: The Red Velvet Cake War
Reviewed by Jeanette Boehme
The Orange Community Players have the winning recipe to bake up a comedy production that is perhaps the funniest play ever seen there. The Red Velvet Cake War written by Jones, Hope, and Wooten and directed by Keri Foreman is Southern-fried comedy at its best. This sassy script is chock full of funny lines and high spirits.
Taking place in a hot Texas town, the action revolves around the Verdeen family at a family reunion. Three cousins, Gaynelle, Jimmie , and Peaches, are embroiled in drama and zany characters. A high stakes bet occurs between Gaynelle and her aunt, LaMerle, over who can bake the best red velvet cake. Love connections, felonies, divorces, and fisticuffs keep the audience cracking up with laughter.
The show-stopper has to be Shauna Temple as Gaynelle. She is outstanding as the walking nervous breakdown who comforts herself by squirting whipped cream in a can in her mouth frequently. She was arrested for running her minivan through the bedroom wall of her ex-husband’s mistress’ doublewide. Shauna has amazing facial expressions, hair arrangements, and temper tantrums. Great job, Shauna!
Also turning in a terrific performance is Ruth Ann Cassidy as cousin Peaches. Peaches is a very flirty, flashy dressed mortuary cosmetologist whose husband disappeared seven years before. Ruth Ann breathes life into her role so well you forget she is acting.
Last but not least, the third cousin Jimmie Wyvette, is portrayed by Jennifer Foreman. Tom-boyish Jimmie has an unfortunate unibrow and a crush on the widower next door. Pygmalion would be proud as Jimmie cleans up very well in the end. Good show, Jennifer.
A special shout-out goes to Krystal Smith who manages a double role, first as the prissy, perky woman pursuing the same widower as Jimmie, and secondly as a nonagenarian
looking for love. Kudos to Krystal.
Bubba Cassidy plays Newt, an eccentric Texan with a patch over a missing eye. The ladies love him anyway, all except the one he likes best. He has excellent stage presence and does a rollicking good job.
Veteran OCP actress Tanya Guillotte turns in a flawless performance as the sharp-tongued, mean-spirited matriarch of the Verdeen clan. Great job as always, Tanya.
Taking the prizes for the best laugh and best jokes has to be Barry Foster as the 90 year old oxygen-dependent patriarch of the family. Bravo, Barry.
The show is extremely well cast and nearly all of the cast are experienced and well prepared. The supporting cast is excellent, exhibiting a flare for comedic timing and performing. They are Laura Bergeaux, Christine Brown-Zeto, Audrey Zeto, Wesley Patteson. The technical aspects, lighting, sound, set design, and costumes are all superior.
Enjoy an evening of knee-slapping fun and laughter and come see this ‘don’t miss’ show. Performances are February 4, 9, 10, and 11 at 7:37 p.m. and a matinee on February 12th at 2:37 p.m. General admission is $20 and students $15. Call for reservations at 409-882-9137 or visit orangecommunityplayers.com.