Review of The Church Basement Ladies in Plowin’ Thru
by Mike Ryan
Season 63 at Theatre L’Homme Dieu and the very funny Church Basement Ladies and their 9th installment, Plowin’ Thru, is a great start! Plowin’ Thru offers audiences a return to 1975, as the rural Ladies negotiate cultural shifts in America.
In this show, while they are glad to have Pastor Gunderson back from the big city, they aren’t ready to embrace his new ideas, or his new toupee! Mavis, Vivian and Karin have moved on and, in Plowin’ Thru, the Pastor is the one struggling with that. In addition to being entertained by a cast who can play multiple roles and use a standard 1970s kitchen for clever hijinks of all sorts, you will also receive an education in Minnesota-Norwegian culture. (Basket socials — you betcha! Lutefisk dinners — no thank ya!)
The first scene begins with Pastor (no name, simply Pastor) returning to his parsonage after several years away. Church attendance has fallen, and he, along with his dedicated Church Basement Ladies, are determined to start a revival. What seemingly begins as a simple, perhaps old-fashioned tale develops into much more. Gender roles, both in the home and in the church, are examined. Perhaps there’s a bit of revolution in the revival…
Widow Karin, daughter Beverly, and friends Vivan and Mavis are the Church Ladies. They perform traditional domestic duties in the kitchen and on the farm; Mavis is also handy with machines and TNT. When Karin, known for her delicious baked goods, discovers that she can serve in areas beyond the kitchen, the bonds of the Church ladies are tested. As is spoken more than once in the show, “there’s no going backwards, we can only go forwards.”
Plowin’ Through is a mix of the expected with the unexpected. The singing is good, the laughter is abundant, and there’s not a four-letter word in the script. Whether this is your first visit to the basement or you’ve seen ‘em all, you won’t want to miss this show. Come along as the ladies don their polyester pantsuits and sing, dance and laugh their way thru this hilarious and touching musical, PLOWIN’ THRU.
Showtimes: 7:30 pm Tuesday – Saturday and 1:30 Thursday. The physical box office is open 10 am to 4 pm. You can purchase tickets online at tlhd.org or call 320-846-3150