The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Entertainment

October 25, 2012

Deck the basement

Church ladies' Christmas preparations offer fun romp

INDIANAPOLIS — While you may not be quite ready to deck your halls, the church ladies are decking the basement on the stage of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. With devoted fans who know and love the characters from the first two musicals in the Church Basement Ladies series, this Christmas addition is a fun romp into the lives of these do-gooders.

Don’t fret if you missed the first two installments as “Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas” stands alone quite well. Enjoying the quirky personalities and interactions of the characters is the heart of the show. Catching glimpses of friends and family members (and maybe even yourself) in the portrayals is the fun.

Since the story is set in 1959, audience members are transported to a time when, even in the kitchen, ladies wore dresses and pearls. Antiques, such as kitchen chairs with pull-out step stools, are not only stage dressings, but props used in dance numbers.

Set on the day of the children’s Sunday school Christmas program, the four main characters are busy in the basement of the Lutheran church making all the necessary preparations — finding costumes, fixing up treat bags, baking refreshments and decorating. Each has a talent to offer the group and serves while discussing church politics and the difficult issue of change.

And, of course, they regularly break out into song and dance to make a point.

Stealing the show is Karen Pappas, whose antics as Mavis Gilmerson are simply hilarious. Serving as Mrs. Fix-It, she is less than delicate and more than entertaining. Her accent alone is likely to have patrons giggling, while the way she clomps around the stage in oversized goulashes is bound to cause chuckling.

Hillary Smith perfectly captures the 15-year-old spirit as she plays Beverly Engleson. Her teenage whine as she stomps her foot and insists to be treated as an adult is spot on.

Licia Watson, as the matriarch Vivian Snustad, can stop everyone in the room (including the pastor) with nothing more than an icy stare. Able to point to the previous year’s disastrous Christmas program as evidence, she is vehemently opposed to change on any level.

Katherine Proctor plays Karin Engelson, the poster child of a 1950s housewife. With perfect hair and perfect dress and perfect heels, she dances throughout the kitchen putting everyone else’s needs ahead of her own with a smile that doesn’t falter.

While patrons are privy to each character’s flaws, they are also shown the tender-hearted nature of each woman and the sacrifices she makes for the good of the congregation — and even those outside the flock.

Adding in great songs with inventive dance moves and interesting props, the show is simply a lot of fun.

Stage shows that poke fun at one religious group or another can sometimes be delightful and sometimes be off-putting. A delicate balance exists between good-natured teasing and downright mocking, causing many shows to miss the mark. “Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas” manages to carefully walk the tightrope and allow the audience to laugh with the characters instead of at them.

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • Markleville Jamboree begins July 31 Is your baby the prettiest? Does your pet do amazing tricks? Do you bake, sew, craft? Do you like tractors? If any of this sounds like you, you're invited to join in the contests at the Markleville Jamboree.

    July 28, 2014

  • NWS - HB0728 - Colts Camp - 006 Armed Forces Day at Colts camp pairs Girl Scout cookies with veterans

    Pair Girl Scouts and their world-famous cookies with Armed Forces Day at Indianapolis Colts training camp, and you've got a winning combination. Operation: Cookie Drop, as it's called, is a program where customers buy boxes of cookies for delivery to active and retired military throughout central Indiana.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA-HB0727-MCWinery-JC6.JPG Having a wine time

    Cathy Hensley’s never been much of a drinker. It wasn’t something that interested her very much, so it seemed unfathomable that she would ever run a winery. But after her son Eric offered her and her husband, Duke, some wine he made, it changed things.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA - HB0726 - Naturalist Day Camp - JC 5 Mounds camps offer outdoor fun "Can toads go in the pool?" It's one of the many questions Douglass and other interpretive naturalists received during Naturalists Day Camp, the second of three day camps Mounds Park is offering this summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_8125.JPG Auction teaches in business, farming

    After 10 years of 4-H, saying goodbye to his animals has become a simple matter for McKennon Heald. But he said he wouldn't be surprised to see some tears from some of the younger participants. He's been there.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - HB0725 - Colts Camp - 272 Colts fans come from all over Indiana for training camp

    Under bright skies and mild temperatures, Indianapolis Colts fans turned out in droves to witness the first of this year's public practices during training camp at Anderson University's campus on Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • FEA - HB0725 - 13 The Musical - JC - 1.JPG Review: Musical takes you back to being '13'

    Wanting to kill your mom and pining for a Wonderbra are typical desires young teenage girls have, but that just scratches the surface of the relatable themes in Mainstage Theatre’s production of “13: The Musical.”

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Live music: July 25

    Live entertainment at local venues as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS - HB0724 - 4-H fair - 142 Showmanship competition reveals best handler

    With a tug here, a push there, and gentle directional tapping with a small aluminum stick, Savannah Martin of Summitville won Wednesday's Supreme Showman trophy after four rounds directing swine, sheep, goats and steers through various handling exercises.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • NWS - HB0724 - 4-H Fair morning 2 Work starts at sunrise at 4-H Fair With the skies filled with lightning and the threat of rain on the horizon the Madison County 4-H Fairgrounds was mostly vacant at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos