'Christmas Belles' is hilarious holiday production

Edgefield County Theatre Company to present show two weekends
Ruth Bledsoe (from left), Janet Johnson and Betsy Wilson-Mahoney star in Edgefield County Theatre Company's "Christmas Belles," which will be staged two weekends in December.



Experience the Christmas spirit “Southern-style” this year. The Edgefield County Theatre Company will present Christmas Belles, a Southern holiday comedy by well-known playwrights Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.

Show dates are 8 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 7 and 14, and Saturdays, Dec. 8 and 15; and 3 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 9 and 16, at The William Miller Bouknight Theatre, 405 Main St. Edgefield. Tickets are $15. Call (803) 637-3833 or visit edgefieldcountytheatre

Set in Fayro, Texas, Christmas Belles centers on the three Futrelle sisters – Frankie, Twink and Honey Rae – and an annual church Christmas program that spins hilariously out of control.

“It’s absurd, it’s quirky, it’s definitely funny,” said director Tony Baughman. “But at the core, it’s about family, love and acceptance – what the season is all about.”

The play’s synopsis says it is about “squabbling sisters, family secrets, a surly Santa, a vengeful sheep and a reluctant Elvis impersonator … a journey through a misadventure-filled Christmas Eve.”

Honey Rae is played by Betsy Wilson-Mahoney; Frankie by Janet Johnson; and Twink by Caroline Bland.

Baughman said he is happy with the way the play is coming together.

“Most of the cast are veterans of the Edgefield stage,” he said. “This cast has embraced these characters. We have an amazing time, onstage and off. We laugh more off stage than in any play I’ve directed. It’s locking in sooner than most plays.”

Baughman said he has directed five or six plays by these particular playwrights, and the Edgefield County Theatre has performed several, including The Dixie Swim Club and Till Beth Do Us Part.

“They have a way of capturing the Southern experience,” he said. “Their plays are full of heart and so funny. I think a lot of us can see ourselves or someone we know in the characters.”

He said the company will present another one of their plays, Hallelujah Girls, in August.

The Edgefield County Theatre Company was founded in 2010. They have performed almost 20 plays, and most of them were sold out.

“People come from all over,” Baughman said. “Greenwood, Greenville, Savannah and other parts of Georgia.”

On July 1, 2010, the theater company began renovations on a section of the Joanne T. Rainsford Discovery Center for a 65-seat theater.