Review: The Church Basement Ladies at LaComedia

BY: Michael Woody
last updated 05/22/2024
Review: The Church Basement Ladies at LaComedia

Fans of The Church Basement Ladies will rejoice in ‘Plowin Thru’ while everyone else will be more than satisfied.Mike Woody reviews The Church Basement Ladies in "Plowing Thru", now at LaComedia Dinner Theatre through June 16

Review: The Church Basement Ladies at LaComedia

It’s a return of biblical propertions (literally), I and other La Comedia Dinner Theatre loyalists never imagined it would take this long. Audiences are now filled with excitement that the long wait is over. If you still somehow don’t know, sit down and brace yourself for the reveal…Chris Kramer is back!

It’s also the return of the anxiously anticipated (for some) of The Church Basement Ladies. In addition to death and taxes, another of life’s guarantees is a Church Basement Ladies production at La Comedia every few years. This one’s titled ‘Plowin’ Th and is set in 1975-76.              

Honestly, it’s not a favorite series of mine. The original was pretty funny, but the sequels (I’ve lost count) seem to recycle all the same jokes. Clearly there are many who disagree and love The Church Basement Ladies, or don’t remember the material from the previous times. Either way, whatever brings in crowds works for me…feed me and I can sit through anything.

On the bright side, ‘Plowin Thru’ sets itself apart from the other installments. It contains some of the staples (bread sacks over boots) but breaks the mold in other ways. One major difference is each cast member plays multiple other parts, expanding the characters from the East Cornucopia Lutheran Church of the Prairie.

In addition to the afore mentioned Kramer, the cast also includes a talented trio of ‘Ladies’ to surround him. So here’s the thing…the unofficial leader of the kitchen is Mavis (Leanne Greenberg), who dishes out several satisfying one-liners Marilyn Farley plays Vivian, who shows some impressive physical comedy (and her bloomers) by climbing atop the refrigerator. Meghan Slowik is quickly becoming a staple, and always adds a dash of brightness. Here she’s, Beverly, the youngest of the crew. Last but not least is the leading lady of La Comedia, Karie-Lee Sutherland is as charming as ever as Karin.

It wouldn’t be The Church Basement Ladies without Chris Kramer as the Pastor. (Unless it’s a prequel…who remembers that one?) Kramer’s, a natural in the role. He’s played it so many times that he’s probably qualified to perform pastoral duties. A highlight this time is his impersonation of Elvis.

Theres a couple of central storylines, one being that attendance has drastically dropped at the church. A couple different methods are tried to bring the parishioners back, including the pastor doing home visits. The visits at least results in many laughs. The plot also centers around Karin wanting to further her ministry beyond the kitchen and Vivian believing that women shouldn’t serve in such a capacity. On a somewhat related note, the next Church Basement Ladies will likely include a discussion about the Butker commencement speech.

It concludes with a bang and lots of laughs. Maybe the funniest part of all the Church Basement Ladies.

No offense to Kramer, but the return that my wife was most excited about and had long been waiting for was fried green tomatoes on the buffet. There are several other taste sensations to enjoy and top off with some coffee, even if…just a half a cup.

Fans of The Church Basement Ladies will rejoice in ‘Plowin Thru’ while everyone else will be more than satisfied.

More details: The Church Basement Ladies in "Plowing Thru"

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