By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
It takes playwright Sanders an eternity to get around to any semblance of storytelling in this Dixie disaster. There's 20 grand of Willie Mae's "grapefruit fortune" hidden somewhere in the cabin, or maybe in the sugar cane growing outside the door (on designer Clare Floyd DeVries' over-detailed set, there's enough cane on the stage to sweeten all the iced tea in North Texas). That's the real reason Videllia is on the premises. She needs money to pay off some Crescent City mobsters. She's also got a family connection she's hiding from the gals.
Every character is imbued with a dumb gimmick in Sugar Bean Sisters. Fat, angry Faye eats cookies by the fistful and quietly plots to murder her sis, not for money but for freedom from their sucky life in snake-ville. Willie Mae is a dumb cluck who clings to her Book of Mormon, hangs Christmas lights in August and yammers about "Eva Gay-bore wigs" and drinking "Dr. Pecker." Videllia clatters around on high heels, shaking her booty and puffing out her ample assets. Funny thing though, when the sisters finally figure out who she really is, Videllia's age works out to about 46, which seems pretty old to be a topless anything.
Two other characters, the spooky Reptile Woman (Tippi Hunter) and angelic Bishop Crumley (Joe Bissex), stop by the swamp to interrupt the idiotic idioms now and then. One sister worries she'll be "up a crick without a paddle in a chicken wire boat." Somebody's always saying they're about to "have me a spell" or they've "seen me a snake."
The Sugar Bean Sisterscontinues through August 12 at WaterTower Theatre, Addison, 972-450-6232.
We've seen us some funnier plays about Southern eccentrics from the Greater Tuna guys. Tennessee Williams gave us better crazy old ladies. Yee doggies, The Sugar Bean Sisters ain't nuthin' but stale corn.