From right: Jinx Jenkins (played by Kim Bellwood) and Randa Covington (played by Daniella Novak) are none too friendly upon their first meeting, while Dot Haigler (played by Rosalee Sullivan) and Marlafaye Mosley (played by Kerry Campbell) enjoy a little more bourbon during a dress rehearsal of Bard to Broadway’s The Savannah Sipping Society production on Friday, June 29.— Adam Kveton Photo

REVIEW: B2B comedy a hooting, howling tear-jerker in disguise

Savannah Sipping Society a strong comedy with very relatable characters showing in Qualicum Beach

Members of the audience were both howling with laughter and brought to tears at the dress rehearsal for Bard to Broadway’s The Savannah Sipping Society production on Friday, June 29.

A tale of four ladies from the southern United States at various stages of mid- to late-life crises, the audience saw an at-times crude comedy that nonetheless hit the mark, and at others a delicate and touching dramatization of the roadblocks and hurdles of life.

Whether it’s re-building a life after splitting up with a cheating spouse, a loss of identity after losing a job (in explosive fashion), seeing the life of a loved one slip away, or one’s own waning health as the years go on, a lot is thrown at these ladies who ultimately make up the Savannah Sipping Society.

The play takes place over the first several months of the ladies’ friendship, and mostly on the veranda of former architect and disappointing daughter of a rich family Randa Covington (played by Daniella Novak).

She meets Dot Haigler, the oldest and most timid of the bunch (played by Rosalee Sullivan), and rough-around-the-edges, plain-talkin’ Texan Marlafaye Mosley (played by Kerry Campbell) after they all declare their latest attempt at getting out into the world and trying something new a complete failure.

Politely and absentmindedly invited over for drinks, Haigler and Mosley call Covington’s bluff and do just that, where Jinx Jenkins (a spunky young woman played by Kim Bellwood) is added to the mix.

Their character’s clash wonderfully, with Campbell getting some of the biggest laughs with her physical comedy adding to her dirty, direct and hilarious lines. Novak plays snobby and snide well, while also conveying her character’s lack of confidence and her connection with what the other three are going through.

Though accents can be a tripping point in plays with such a specific location, here they pass well enough. Bellwood’s accent tends to meander, but there is actually a narrative reason for this.

While Covington and Mosley (along with the actors who play them) may seem to be the standouts at the start of the play, each character gets the spotlight and grows along the way, giving all four actors the opportunity to do some heavy emotional lifting.

The play focuses on scenes with the four women meeting on Covington’s veranda (usually either before or after another collective attempt to try something new and get on with life), but is dotted with solo portions where the characters take turns telling the audience something important that is happening in their lives.

Both Sullivan and Bellwood shine in several of these moments, communicating fear, pain, anguish and hope in the face of situations that are all too common, and yet still tragic — perhaps more so.

But the comedy rolls on throughout, as the characters’ rough beginnings with each other wear down into a comfortable collective of very different but connected and supportive women.

While all four experienced actors will no-doubt be known to many of the returning Bard to Broadway fans, they all succeed in embodying their characters fully, portraying funny, unique and relatable people whose stories are lots of fun to watch unfold.

Opening night for The Savannah Sipping Society is Thursday, July 5 at the Village Theatre (110 West 2nd Ave., Qualicum Beach), with more performances into August. For a full schedule, and for information on tickets, go to or call 250-752-4470.

Just Posted

Racist slur cleaned off memorial at Qualicum First Nation graveyard

Site was hit by vandals on Friday; many immediately offered support and assistance

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases in B.C.

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Nanoose Bay teen aims to build a bionic arm

Prosthetic prototype project latest in Ballenas student’s math, tech ambitions

Deep Bay artist creates abstract sculptures using cement

Birgit Piskor’s artist journey has blossomed from gardener to sculpture

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Student arrested at Vancouver Island elementary school

Pupils never in danger, incident unrelated to the school

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Vancouver Island leadfoot clocked doing 143 km/h in an 80 km/h zone

Driver issued $483 ticket, has vehicle impounded after pinging RCMP radar in Lantzville

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Most Read