CCC Celebrates 45th Season With A Slew of Memorable Moments

Reviewed by Stephen Visser

Clio Cast and Crew is kicking off its 45th season in style with an absolutely charming rendition of Love, Loss and What I Wore by Delia and Nora Ephron. This beautiful show, which plunges headfirst into the female psyche, left the opening night audience in stitches. The piece, which has equal parts tenderness and hilarity, argues that sometimes the memories women carry are motivated and somewhat overshadowed by what they were wearing and how they were feeling in their respective ensembles. I know what you’re all thinking: What does this middle-aged man know about writing about the female psyche and emotional fashion? The answer is unashamedly next to nothing. Still, perhaps this very sentiment alludes to what is capable when a powerful script comingles with a fiercely talented cast dedicated to telling a truly beautiful story of female empowerment.  

Director Maggie Harmon has done an exceptional job assembling her cast and an even better job polishing their impeccable timing and undeniable chemistry. This precision brings forth a caliber of authenticity that paves the way for the audience to relate to these important stories almost instantly. And if that polished product doesn’t fit the bill, her intimate set-design absolutely does. We really appreciated the muted tones of the set, the set dressings, and the actors’ costumes. Simply put, this choice afforded signstress Rachel Tisdale’s brilliantly colorful canvassed creations to take center stage. It also creates the perfect metaphor for the transformative power that exists behind any carefully crafted outfit’s ability to bring forth beauty at any given moment in the female experience.

Leading the cast in the role of Gingy is the formidable Sandra Turner, a veteran of Clio Cast and Crew. Turner’s incredible comedic timing, and complete commitment to Gingy’s vulnerability as she navigates the audience through Gingy’s three marriages, and her loss of a child is nothing short of perfection.  She’s charming, funny and absolutely real. And on Friday, she had everyone hating “the prick” that won a Pulitzer Prize. We won’t be forgiving him any time soon.

Complimenting Turner’s pseudo-narrating efforts was a strong ensemble of performers (Lorrie McCarty, Kim Heath Streby, Jane Turner, Paula Price, and Madeline Speed). This ensemble was nothing short of incredible as they slipped seamlessly from character to character at a moment’s notice. They worked perfectly together. Most notably was their scene about “The Bra”. Now I actually don’t have a ton of experience with bras, but after Friday’s performance I do realize that it is serious business. The troupe worked together seamlessly to share vulnerable moments of trying on their first bra. And while they all contributed hilarious bra-shaped anecdotes, nothing hit us harder than the mono boob (Kim Heath Streby) or the story of bending over and hoping that her breasts would magically tumble out of her body and into the bra (Jane Turner). We almost didn’t recover.

There were many memorable individual moments that captivated the audience as well. Among them was Lorrie McCarty’s rendition of “I hate my purse”. McCarty’s timing and delivery were absolutely wonderful. As she told the story of finding the perfect bag, it was like listening to my mother. She was an absolute riot. Another beautiful moment was Jane Turner’s “Boots”. First, Turner’s many characterizations were all so authentic, and distinctly different from each other. She had moments of nonstop comedy, but what hit us most incredibly was her extremely vulnerable telling of the time her character was raped, and specifically how it changed her as an individual. Turner’s performance was raw and uncomfortable which made it feel so real.

Madeline Speed’s “Geralyn’s Story” was another beautiful moment within the show. She recalled her experience with Cancer and weighs in about her experience. Speed is absolutely wonderful in this part. She lets the audience into her personal struggle and doesn’t spare us the tears. She is tumultuous, and impactful. And when she ended her monologue with talking about surviving, she had the entire room roaring in support of her.

We very much enjoyed Paula Price’s “Lynne’s Story”. From learning about Ray’s colitis to her very loose-fitting brown pants with the awkward hole, Price’s characterization was simply wonderful. She played this quirky character perfectly. Price did an incredible job showing every nuance of her many different characters. We really enjoyed watching her on stage.

One last moment that we really enjoyed was the horrifying rendition of “Annie’s Story” as portrayed by Kim Heath Streby. Her dedication to reenacting the time her her period came suddenly and violently at a dinner party is nothing short of perfection. Every person in the audience felt her pain on a real level because she brought so much angst to the many roles she played. Starkly talented, and simply wonderful on stage, Streby is a rare find in the theatre community.

 Now, there were a few moments with some slight awkwardness with lighting cues, but overall, this is simply a wonderful show that you do not want to miss. Love, Loss and What I Wore continues through this weekend. Clio Cast & Crew is located at Theatre 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd, P.O. Box 184, Clio, MI 48420.  For tickets and more information contact the Box Office at 810-687-2588 or online at www.cliocastandcrew.com

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