Somewhere in the Wild West a dust storm is brewing. All the men in town have gone to drive their cattle to a safer place, leaving their women-folk holed up in the only brick building in town: the saloon/ brothel.
There is excitement and mystery wrapped up in the stories of the mix of characters in the saloon, four women of the brothel, four ladies from the town, a stranger who staggers in out of the storm and — oh, my — a dead body.
This is the setting of Wild Dust, a delightful play I attended this afternoon at Center on the Square in Searcy, AR. The director, Sally Paine, is one my favorite people in the whole world, and her assistant in this project, Jon Bucher, can absolutely do magic. So of course I expected to be entertained.
The excellent cast includes Robbie Ballew as the dusty stranger who blows in (sorry) to ride out the storm and change the life of the traumatized young girl, Denise, played by Carolyn Walker. Marion, Sally, and Belle, residents of the ‘social club’ are brilliantly played by Vanessa Ott, Ashley Gaines, and Julie Bridges.
Lauren Lawson is splendid as Hard Cora, the local blacksmith (who has a soft side after all) and Lyndsay Ballew does a sensitive, believable job as the blind Rebecca, moving about the stage with just the right amount of hesitation vs confidence.
Rounding out the cast was Sophie Fuller as Gertie Styles and Rickae Boyd as Gertie’s domineering mother, Louise. They interact deliciously as Gertie moves from a stuttering timid girl to a self-confident young lady and Louise learns that there is often good inside a person despite the outside wrapping.
And last but not least, Carson McGill turned in a very solid, even performance as Martin. (This role is double cast with Kris Monroe as Martin during some performances.)
Central Arkansas is lucky to have high quality community theater in Searcy. I would certainly recommend this current production for an afternoon or evening of fine food and good entertainment.
You can find out more about the theater schedules and tickets here.