Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

dixie topper

The Dixie Swim Club

Grange Playhouse


On a cold and rainy January night, the company of The Grange Players in Walsall delivered a much needed ray of summer sunshine.

The Dixie Swim Club is a snapshot of holiday vacations over the lifetimes of five southern women, who meet each August at a summer seaside cottage. There they reflect on their friendship and the past years over more than a few martinis. It’s full of wit and charm and at times pure vitriol but throughout the years the one thing that remains solid is their enduring friendship.

Each of the women has vastly different lives and is played beautifully by this talented cast. Sheree played by Kerry Jones is the eat and live well, would be leader of the group. Always forcing her healthy but sour tasting hor d`oeuvres on everyone as they arrive, she is predisposed to organize the others but eventually becomes the lifetime rock for her friends.

Then there is Lexie played by Ruth Bosman. She is the cougar of the group, forever on the lookout for her next man with a string of failed marriages behind her. She’s always in search of love and is committed to keeping her looks to find it, even if it takes cosmetic surgery to help her with the quest.

Dinah played by Kay Munday, is the legal eagle focused on her career that comes to eventually realise that life is not all about courtroom victories and hours of paperwork and stress.


The most upbeat and positive of the group is Vernadette, played by Joanne James. With her children either in prison or lost to some cult, she wise cracks her way through her traumatic life and manages to always find the fun in every situation, even when her memory eventually fails her.  

Finally, we have the one time Nun, Jeri Neal played by Louise Grifferty. Convent life comes to a startling halt for her with an immaculately planned pregnancy, plunging her into motherhood and transforming her life.

This play is a real ensemble piece. No one missed a beat and the humour was perfectly timed and clearly delivered. The wise cracking gags are surprising and sharp and it’s rare for a play to genuinely make me laugh. It’s not all about the humour though as expected, as often there are some sharp arguments and exchanges between the group.

The mood constantly fluctuates and director Rachel Waters has succeeded in creating the perfect balance.

 As the lives of the ladies unfold and the years move on, there is a real sense of camaraderie that was genuine and heartfelt. The play comes to a poignant and inevitable ending as they enter the later years of their life and the final closing moments are both reverent and moving.

With only 25 or so of us in the audience, it’s a real shame more people we not in attendance and overall are not supporting local amateur theatre during these covid days. I would urge anyone to make the effort when they can for two reasons. Firstly, like here with the Dixie Swim Club, it’s first class local entertainment. And secondly if you don’t, then just maybe sometime in future when you do feel like a night out at a local theatre, it might just not be there.  To 15-01-22.

Jeff Grant


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