Virginia Rep’s Hanover Tavern world premiere of The Charitable Sisterhood Christmas Spectacular gives audiences a second glimpse at the fun-loving ladies of the Second Trinity Victory Church. The show, written by Chesterfield’s own Bo Wilson, is the second in his Sisterhood Saga.
Billed a “mystery play,” the show takes us behind the scenes in the basement of the church where Tina, Janet, Bea, and Lorraine are preparing for the annual Christmas pageant. There’s only one problem: the church’s Baby Jesus has strangely disappeared. Bea, who has appointed herself producer of the show, believes that Lucille from a nearby church has absconded with the Baby Jesus in order to best the Sisterhood’s holiday production.
Janet is brought in to act as detective and solve the whodunit, but in the end, the Sisterhood finds out it wasn’t Lucille that took the Baby Jesus. It was someone much closer to the group. The ladies also discover that people aren’t always as we perceive them to be. Often, their story runs much deeper than what we see on the surface.
Wilson has made this play even funnier than its predecessor. The show is lighthearted, warm, and comfortably funny. The characters are relatable and the pacing of the show is spot on.
The ensemble cast – Jan Guarino as Tina, Donna Marie Miller as Janet, Catherine Shaffner as Bea, Jody Smith Strickler as Lucille and Debra Wagoner as Lorraine – delivers on all accounts. The actresses get to stretch their comic chops, making it a fun night for audience members. They play off of each with ease and exuberance. And if something might go astray, say a prop falls down during the show, you can count on them to improvise and make the accident part of the show.
The Charitable Sisterhood Christmas Spectacular is fluffy and light, a perfect recipe for the holiday season, and a great choice for the entire family. The show runs through January 1 at Hanover Tavern. Visit Virginia Rep for showtimes and tickets.