Take a pseudo-sophisticated socialite, a brooding housewife, several bodies that make queen-size seem like a tight fit, and a teacher who's only teaching to take up the slack for her deadbeat husband. Put them all together in a tap-dance class, and you have "Stepping Out," a light play (as opposed to one heavily imbued with substance) - with dancing.
The set resembles a dingy church hall with peeling paint, but this weekly meeting place brings together an assortment of women (and one man) whose abundance of personality quirks and almost total lack of talent result in an interesting - and sometimes quite funny - piece of live theater. It's never hilarious, but the gentle humor and the upbeat ending with all its last-scene revelations make an entertaining show. Marion J. Bentley has directed.Debbie Hines is good as Mavis, the teacher whose patient understandably grows thin. Gayle Dudley is an audience favorite as the temperamental piano accompanist. Among the strongest performances are Allison F. Hewitt's Vera, the super-tidy, well-dressed "high society" woman whose words are unwitting daggers; Paula Hansen's Sylvia, a character who gets some of the best lines and delivers them deadpan; and Leslie Driggs, an aspiring professional dancer with an authentic-sounding Irish brogue but little dancing talent.
The ensemble also includes Veronique Enos as the sullen Andy, who immerses herself in classes and causes in order to avoid going home; Erin Fleming as Maxine, whose too-honest humor covers her insecurity; Knikki Jacobsmeyer as Rose, distinguishable chiefly by her garish dancing costumes; and Kat Wilson as a "sweet spirit" type who possesses all the grace of a buffalo. Rick Wright Parry is the sole male in the class - and in the ensemble.
The mixture (and sometimes clash) of personalities - in what will remind some viewers of an adult education class they once took - is a good bit of frothy fun, with some lines that are real gems. Just to prove it, I'll close with one of Vera's Great Observations of Life: "It may be February outside, but it's always August underneath your armpits." See what I mean?