The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


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.

Text Only
  • Liberty Christian makes changes to annual auction Liberty Christian School is upping the ante for its upcoming Duck-Tacular event. The school’s annual benefit auction is steering away from past forest themes to “Duck-Tacular,” a nod to the popular A&E show “Duck Dynasty.”

    April 18, 2014

  • FEA HB0418 LITTLE BIG TOWN Kathy Griffin to perform at Hoosier Park Emmy and Grammy winner Kathy Griffin will dish about her latest run-ins with celebrities and observations about Hollywood’s elite and popular culture in the Terrace Showroom when she brings her stand-up act to Anderson on April 26.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • Jazz night comes to Paramount Hopkins and Miller’s Sunset Stomp Jazz Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Paramount. The performance is one of the first events for the 27th Annual City of Anderson Little 500 Festival schedule.

    April 17, 2014

  • Weekend Calendar: April 18 Entertainment scheduled at area venues for April 18-20.

    April 17, 2014

  • Live music: April 18 The following listings for live music and other entertainment at area venues are published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dog owners invited to Easter egg hunt McCulloch Park will be going to the dogs on Saturday. Residents are invited to join in for the Easter egg hunt specifically for canines and their human companions.

    April 16, 2014

  • FEA HB0416 Reno Sweeney Review: Classic Cole Porter tunes in 'Anything Goes' Light-hearted entertainment reigns at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre as the stage is filled with sparkling costumes, quick stepping and even a little slapstick thrown into the mix. “Anything Goes,” now playing through May 11, may be a musical celebrating its 80th anniversary, but the humor is not lost on modern audiences.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Grace's Magic' to help Second Harvest Ball State graduate Cindee Cox is the author of “Grace’s Magic,” a children’s book geared around helping others and the community in which they live.

    April 14, 2014

  • 'Hunger Games' top winner at MTV Movie Awards

    "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" earned the prize for best film at Sunday night's MTV Movie Awards, besting even top Oscar winner "12 Years a Slave."

    April 13, 2014

  • NWS - HB0414 - Digital library- JC Alexandria library going digital Alexandria-Monroe Public Library using new digital program to make borrowing the latest books and movies easier than ever.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo