PLAY REVIEW: ‘Wipeout!’ brings sun and surf to stage

The Avalon girls, Sandy (Linda Van Houten), Midge (Caroline Cook), Wendy (Karen Hopkins) and Rhonda (Susan Ayres) discuss the latest plan to try to save the Surf Shack in “Wipeout!” the OUR3 melodrama showing today and Saturday.

As we contend with the cold blustery days of Michigan winter, what could be more enticing than a day in the sun and the surf?

The fourth annual OUR3 fundraising melodrama, a production produced and presented by local educational professionals and community members who care about keeping the performing arts alive, brings us “Wipeout!”

“‘Wipeout!’ has a lot of good music,” director Ruth Hansen said. “The cast really pulls together to do this. Most of them have full time jobs and then come out to rehearsals to do this.”

Midge (Caroline Cook) talks to her father Cap’n Bill (Keith Hudson) about not giving up on his dreams, and why he shouldn’t sell the Surf Shack. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

The opening number, “It’s Always 90 Degrees on Avalon Beach,” features the entire cast in a lively song and dance, and helps to set the scene.

Based on Avalon Beach in California in the 1960s, “Wipeout!” centers around starlet Midge, played  exuberantly by Caroline Cook, and the Avalon kids: beau Riptide (Jeff Cook); Bodhy (Jim Hopkins); Wendy (Karen Hopkins); Freddie Seaturtle (Jeff Ayres); Rhonda (Susan Ayres); sandy (Linda Van Houten) and Loco Moco (Leigh Acker).

The teens love hanging out Mom and Pop’s Surf Shack, owned by Midge’s parents Cap’n Bill (Keith Hudson) and Mom (Val VanderMark).

The conflict begins when elite Cove Kids: Reef Saucelito (Mike Walsh); Fender Bender (Greg VanderMark); Barbara Ann (Paula Alysworth) and Caroline (Robin Bremby) inform the gang that the Surf Shack is going to be sold … and turned into a parking lot.

The teens brainstorm for ideas to save the shack. They could host a car wash, a bake sale, sell comic books, a pottery night, or bingo, some way they could raise $1,000.

The beach scene scrim adds dimension to the simple stage set with costuming such as sandals and floral shirts add to the simplicity of day at the beach.

The Cove Kids and Reef’s father, Mr. Saucelito, (Jon Aylsworth) are strong while singing “Life in the Fast Lane.” Greg VanderMark adds a comedic touch as Reef’s sidekick.

The Avalon men, along with Reef and Fender Bender, are also confident, and comical, in “Laua Love O.”

An opportunity to help the Avalon kids comes along when magazine editor Marcella (Diane Brissette) and photographer Shutterbug (Janet Wulf-Marvin) offer to hold a surfing contest on the beach.

If the Avalon kids had someone who could win the contest, they could save the shack. Riptide volunteers.

While Reef Saucelito (Mike Walsh) doesn’t like Marcella’s (Diane Brissette) decision to hold the surfing contest on Avalon beach, the Avalon kids all celebrate the choice.

“You have a lot of mights, maybes, and could’ves there,” taunts Reef.

Good solo parts are heard in “Dead Man’s Reef’ as the cast tells the story of Cap’n Bill.

An injury bumps Riptide from competing, and the Avalon kids think hope is lost, until secret surfer shows up.

Changing to the surfing scenes are quick, and creatively produced.

Cap’n Bill tries to the kids from trying to save their business.

“Dreams may die out, but they don’t have to commit suicide,”Midge retorts.

“Heave-Ho” also has a lot of cast on the stage, but is well-choreographed and fast-paced.

And how successful will the surfing contest be? You will have to watch “Wipeout!” to find out.


If you go …

What: Fourth annual OUR3 fundraising melodrama, “Wipeout!”

Where: Greenville High School Performing Center

When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday

Tickets: $10 for adults; $8 for students and senior citizens; available at the door, UPS Store or online at

 Cast and Crew

Cast: Riptide, Jeff Cook; Midge, Caroline Cook; Bodhy, Jim Hopkins; Wendy, Karen Hopkins; Freddie Seaturtle, Jeff Ayres; Rhonda, Susan Ayres; Sandy, Linda Van Houten; Loco Moco, Leigh Acker; Reef Saucelito, Mike Walsh; Fender Bender, Greg VanderMark; Barbara Ann, Paula Aylsworth; Caroline, Robin Bremby; Marcella, Diane Brissette; Shutterbug, Janet Wulf-Marvin; Zelda, Jamee Gunn; Mr. Saucelito, Jon Aylsworth; Cap’n Bill, Keith Hudson; Mom, Val VanderMark; Surfers- Pete Haines, Josh Randall and Christian Sowers.

Crew: Ruth Hansen, director; Linda VanHouten, choreographer and vocal director; Alexia Ross and Stephanie Doyle, stage managers; Chris Chapman, technical director; Jacquelyn Soule, assistant technical director; Greg Pribble and Sam Russel, light crew; Timothy K. Schmidt, sound consultant; Jeremy Carey and Audra Tyler, sound crew; Gabe Chapman, Seth Cole, Tyler DeGood, Samantha Horton, Heidi Terry, scenic crew; Tyler DeGood, props; Robert Ashley and Gerritt Harding, video; Jean Hudson and cast, costumes; Linda Custer and Jacky Hilliker, makeup; Cheryl Willard, production coordinator.

Band: Nels Hansen, piano; Jesse Kent, guitar; Sam Cooley, Jr. lead bass; Julia Gabrysh, percussion; Jeff Ayres and Jeff Cook, trumpet; and Keith Hudson, saxophone.

Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.

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