Zionsville Times Sentinel

October 31, 2012

Laughing the night away

By Andrea Cline/Times Sentinel managing editor
CNHI

— I have never seen a Church Basement Ladies show at Beef and Boards, but have heard good things. So naturally, when I decided to go see “Away in the Basement, a Church Basement Ladies Christmas,” I had high expectations.

And this show didn’t let them down.

This is the third installment in the comedy series and is set in 1959 on the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program, five years before the original show. In the midst of holiday preparations, the ladies in their witty, down-to-earth style are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present. Pastor Gunderson, who lost his wife two years before, eagerly assists the lovely new parish worker in charge of the Christmas program, set to take place that evening.

As the children rehearse in the sanctuary, several ladies of the kitchen are finishing up the treat bags, while the others put the final touches on the Nativity. As they mend old bathrobe costumes and discuss the politics of who’s going to play the various roles, little do the ladies know what surprises are in store for them. Known for their hilarious antics and subtle charm, they are once again called upon to step in and save the day.

My favorite character by a mile was Karen Pappas as Mavis Gilmerson. She was hilarious and wasn’t shy even with all the embarrassing stunts her character did during the entire show. Katherine Proctor as Karin Engelson was a perfect fit for her matriarchal character. The stage was on point with what I thought a church basement in 1959 would look like. If I had a complaint it would be that Timmy Hays’ choreography on some of the routines could have used some pizazz. Some of the numbers looked like a group of ladies impatiently waiting in line rather than a sing-and-dance routine.

But all in all, I thought the show was funny and great for all ages.

Away in the Basement will be on the Beef and Boards stage through Nov. 25. Tickets range from $37 to $60 and include Chef Odell Ward’s buffet, coffee, tea and lemonade. Discounts are available for children and groups of 20 or more.

Call the Beef and Boards Box Office at 872-9664 for reservations. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For more information, including a show schedule, visit www.beefandboards.com.