'Red Velvet Cake War' brings relatable humor to local audiences

REED CITY — Most people can tell crazy stories regarding their own family members, which will help audiences relate to the newest play from the members of Crossroads Theatre Guild.

“Red Velvet Cake War” tells the comedic story of a family in Texas coming together for a reunion and three female relatives arguing about who can make the best red velvet cake. Bets are placed and the search is on for the best recipe. Meanwhile, everything that can go wrong takes place during the reunion, including a tornado.

Jan Renne is directing the production, set to take the stage at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2, 8 and 9, and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 3 and 10. The performing arts center is located at 249 W. Upton Ave. in Reed City.

“This group is really tight,” Renne said. “They’re like a family and I’m pleased with their hard work. They are one of the best groups I’ve ever directed.”

This is the first play for Jason Dooley, who plays a character named Jarvis Verdeen. He became interested in joining the Crossroads Theatre Guild after seeing friends become involved.

“It’s fun, I’m having a good time,” Dooley said. “This is a friendly group. They’re very welcoming and are strong actors. I’m very proud to be a member.”

Dooley’s character lends a comedic aspect to the production, as Jarvis is an odd man who takes photographs of the deceased during funerals.

“I like the way he dresses,” Dooley said with a laugh. “I have to wear sandals with argyle socks and plaid pants up to my armpits.”

On the flip side of Dooley is Shelly Gerring, who has been a member of the guild since the late 1980s. In “Red Velvet Cake War,” she plays a controlling and pious character named La Merle Verdeen Minshew, who is one of the characters believing her cake recipe reigns supreme. She hopes for a full house at each performance because the actors respond to audience interaction.

“It’s fun, fast-paced, with lots of funny characters,” Gerring said. “I think the audience will have a good time because there is a good flow to the story and it’s good for all ages.”

Renne also believes “Red Velvet Cake War” will be a fun performance for the actors and audience members alike.

“There are a lot of bizarre things that happen,” Renne said. “It’s chaotic and one laugh after another. The audience won’t be able to sit through it without laughing and there is something for everyone. If they don’t come, they’ll be sorry they missed it.”

Tickets cost $10 and are available at the Reed City Chamber office located in the Depot or by calling (231) 734-9859.