Plowin’ Through is the latest installment of the Church Basement Ladies, a musical comedy that delivers on its promise of music and comedy. In addition to being entertained by a cast who can play multiple roles and use a standard 1970s kitchen for clever hijinks of all sorts, I received a much-needed education in Minnesota-Norwegian culture. (Basket socials — you betcha! Lutefisk dinners — no thank ya!)
The first scene begins with Pastor (no name, simply Pastor) returning to his parsonage after several years away. Church attendance has fallen, and he, along with his dedicated Church Basement Ladies, are determined to start a revival. What seemingly begins as a simple, perhaps old-fashioned tale develops into much more. Gender roles, both in the home and in the church, are examined. Perhaps there’s a bit of revolution in the revival…
Widow Karin, daughter Beverly, and friends Vivan and Mavis are the Church Ladies. They perform traditional domestic duties in the kitchen and on the farm; Mavis is also handy with machines and TNT. When Karin, known for her delicious baked goods, discovers that she can serve in areas beyond the kitchen, the bonds of the Church ladies are tested. As is spoken more than once in the show, “there’s no going backwards, we can only go forwards.”
Plowin’ Through is a mix of the expected with the unexpected. The singing is good, the laughter is abundant, and there’s not a four-letter word in the script and this show is going to appeal more to the grey-haired generation. Parking is free, and the concession stand is open.
Plowin’ Through is playing at the Ames Theatre in Burnsville until February 15, 2023. Ticket prices start $34; group discounts are available.
Review by Kavita Battula