The Sweet Delilah Swim Club

Life’s a Beach

Reviewed by Vicki Stokes

The South Huron Stage at Huron Country Playhouse has been transformed into a cottage on the beach for The Sweet Delilah Swim Club. You can spend the day at Grand Bend beach and then take a short drive to the Playhouse to spend your evening back on the beach, though this time it is at an ocean-front cottage. Pretty nifty.

Five members of a Southern college swim team rent the same cottage every August to reminisce and catch up with each other. More than thirty years pass over the duration of the play. We watch them age and witness how they change. Mostly, we get to laugh with them. The humour sometimes hits so close to home that there’s a loud outburst of acknowledgment and laughter by members of the audience.

Sheree (Marcia Tratt) is ever the captain, not just of the swim team but of the group, organizing the cottage rental and the activities and attempting to get the others to eat her healthy food selections. Dinah (Barbara Fulton) is single and has worked hard to become a very successful lawyer. Then there’s Vernadette (Mary Pitt) who has family issues, and always has an injury of one kind or another. She has developed a wicked sense of humour. Lexie (Cara Hunter), a southern belle, never wants to age, and her relationships with men never last. Jeri (Karen Wood) has chosen a much different path, that of a nun, but when we first meet her, it is evident that she has had a change of heart. Their solid friendships are an important part of their lives.

Sweet Delilah is the cottage where the women stay each year. The play was originally called The Dixie Swim Club but The Sweet Delilah Swim Club has a much nicer ring to it. The setting is the southern USA, and the characters have southern accents. All five actors pull this off with ease and it is not distracting.

The casting is spot-on, with each woman aging and evolving her character perfectly. Their faces are recognizable to Stratford Festival regulars, and four of the five are known to Drayton Entertainment regulars. Barbara Fulton, who plays Dinah, is new to Drayton and is recognizable as Diane in the Canadian production of Come From Away. The entire creative team is composed of women, and they do a great job of creating the beachy atmosphere and simulating the passing of the years. Under the direction of Genie Award-winning Sheila McCarthy, this production is definitely a winner.

These five women are sure to remind you of aspects of your friends or maybe even yourself. You will feel for them as they share details of their lives: their wins and losses, their happiness and worries, their fun times and hardships. The five distinct personalities lead to interesting conversations, a fair amount of conflict, and above all, an abundance of laughter.

The Sweet Delilah Swim Club continues until September 4 at Huron Country Playhouse, South Huron Stage. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 519-238-6000 or Toll Free at 1-855-372-9866, or by checking for availability.

Photo: Mary Pitt, Marcia Tratt, Cara Hunter, Barbara Fulton, and Karen Wood; photo by Drayton Entertainment.

The Sweet Delilah Swim Club
By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, Jamie Wooten
Directed by Sheila McCarthy
Performed by Barbara Fulton, Cara Hunter, Mary Pitt, Marcia Tratt, Karen Wood
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend, August 18 to September 4, 2022
Reviewed by Vicki Stokes


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