Alabama Rain, Wing & Groove Theatre Company. There can be no disagreement that Alabama Rain’s premise is provocative: a small town in the deep south has been without water for 40 years, and a drought-inspired torpor has taken a surreal toll–corpses refuse to be buried, pregnancies go on for years at a time, and the town’s barren well is now the forbidding home of a mysterious and terrible god. When the eldest of the five LaDean sisters leaves in search of the big water off the coast of Florida, her siblings respond with hysterics, headaches, tears, fainting spells–one of them even drops dead from shock. What can deliver these unfortunate women from their crippling inertia?

Heather McCutchen’s allegory for putting the past behind us and taking control of our lives could easily be as dry as its central metaphor. But Christina Martin’s cast in this Wing & Groove production embrace their roles with so much enthusiasm, concentration, and inventive humor that they transform the courageous, eccentric LaDean clan into an engagingly diverse and absorbing sorority. In fact they do such a great job that we almost miss the attention to detail in the rest of the production–notably the clever ways it shows a community coping with a lack of water, such as by planting plastic flowers. –Mary Shen Barnidge