PCLT battles in ‘Cake War’

The cast of “The Red Velvet Cake War” will take the stage at Pike County Little Theatre starting Thursday night at 7:30, with performances Friday through Sunday.

The Pike County Little Theatre Company will present “The Red Velvet Cake War” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Depot Theatre, 206 State St., with advance tickets priced at $10 and door tickets at $12.

Jana Russell, the show’s director and a music teacher at Loyd Star Attendance Center, said the show is hilarious, suitable for all ages and just under two hours long.

“I think people are going to love it,” said Jeff Beck, who plays Sheriff Grover and Purvis Verdeen. “If people show up, they are going to have a good time. They’re going to have some good laughs. Every one of these actors and actresses is hilarious, and they can pull off their characters so perfectly.”

“The Red Velvet Cake War,” published in 2010 and written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones and Nicholas Hope, follows three cousins — Gaynelle, Peaches and Jimmie Wyvette Verdeen — as they navigate a drama-filled life in the small town of Sweetgum, Texas.

The three feud with their aunt LaMerle over a family reunion, which leads to a bet that could end with Gaynelle losing her home to the aunt.

“I read about it, and I read the plot, and it sounded so funny,” said Yvonne Church, who plays the psychiatrist, Elsa Dowdall.

The play “is very entertaining — a little physical comedy,” she said. “There is never a boring moment. It was very well written. It’s fast and funny.”

During the showing, the company will also hold a silent auction for red velvet cakes with bids starting at $20 and moving up in $5 increments throughout the show. The cakes were made by local bakers from the Broadway Deli, Ariana’s Treats, Nona’s Kitchen and (Un)commonCatering.

Russell, who broke her leg after the first week of rehearsals, said with the help of her husband Gregory Russell, producer of the play, they managed to pull the actors together and stay on track.

“Hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll all feel like you’re from Texas,” Gregory Russell said.

The Russells have been in local theatre for years, but joined PCLT last July for the production of “Sweeney Todd,” where Russell played Mrs. Lovett. After that, the husband-wife team helped with the theatre’s Christmas production.

That led them to their current role as director and producer, respectively.

Russell had previously directed the play and thought it would be a good fit for the theatre company, so they suggested it along with a list of plays. She said the company chose the play and was excited for the opportunities it afforded.

“They entrusted us with the production, and I am really honored that we have been welcomed in,” Russell said.

Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.

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