REVIEW: RISE UP, O MEN

Laugh through tears with us at the Church Basement Ladies’ newest musical comedy

Image by Paul Nixdorf

By Aubrey Schield

Plymouth Playhouse’s wildly popular Church Basement Ladies presents a new spin on the misadventures of our favorite characters with Rise Up, O Men, a hysterical musical comedy that asks the question: What happens when the men of the church infiltrate the women’s sacred sublevel kitchen?

To set the scene, the year is 1964 and we’re in the ragtag basement of a nondescript Lutheran church somewhere in rural Minnesota. Plymouth Playhouse’s intimate theater seats about 200, so there’s truly no bad spot in the house. An organ plays softly in the background as you observe the items on stage: speckle-painted cupboards labeled according to their contents surround antique appliances like a retro refridgerator and gargantuan cast-iron stove.

The play explores the relationships between three beloved characters in the Church Basement Ladies saga: Mavis Gilmerson, Karin Engleson and Vivian, also referred to as “the Widow Snustad”. When three men of the church enter the kitchen to attend to some repairs, the Widow Snustad (the fussy but loveable matriarch of the kitchen) is less than thrilled, and, well, all heck breaks loose.

The small cast makes perfect use of the stage, interacting with props and each other as if they were in their own living rooms. A clever dialogue featuring too many “Uffda’s” to count and a vibrant musical score keep you on your toes throughout the entire show. By the end, you feel as though you are a member of this small congregation, sharing all its wonderful quirks and qualities.

Rise Up, O Men runs through May 21 with performances Wednesday through Sunday. Purchase your tickets at plymouthplayhouse.com and enjoy the show!

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