Apple Tarts 

The Andrews Sisters,

The Apple Sisters Variety Show
Fri., Jan. 18, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 19, 8:30 p.m.; $12.50;
The American Theater;

Singing, dancing, comedy, and modern-day issues draped in 1940s style: If you find yourself hankering for all this and more, the Apple Sisters Variety Show is here to ease what ails you.

Complete with commercials for things like Corndy, the corn-flavored candy, and Drippins Gravy, the champagne of gravy, the Apple Sisters' performance is one of those total packages that is as funny as it is creative.

The year is 1943. World War II is well on its way. Cigarette companies are sponsoring nearly everything. And radio shows by girl groups are all the rage. Candy, Cora, and Seedy Apple comprise one of those girl groups, and they sing about everything from brooms to the first Thanksgiving.

They speak with "1940s accents" (a little ditzy, a little New York-ish) and wear kerchiefs and brightly colored dresses. They are, interestingly, a completely modern take on a 65-year-old phenomenon, easy to label as a parody of the Andrews Sisters.

But one thing is for certain: While the Apple Sisters might be inspired by the music and entertainment of the 1940s, when people read "the Apple Sisters," there is no accompanying "(read: silly Andrews Sisters)."

For one thing, their shows are entirely original. Candy, Cora, and Seedy are in real life Rebekka Johnson, Kimmy Gatewood, and Sarah Lowe, all actresses who share a love for both improv and sketch comedy.

"I never knew what else I would want to do," Lowe says.

Each segment of the Apple Sisters Variety Show is an original, from songs to script to dances, and the show only runs for a month before being replaced by another completely new one.

The shows are holiday-themed, based on the month, and run once a week. Although they work with a choreographer, everything else comes straight from Gatewood, Lowe, and Johnson, who have their work cut out for them writing and rehearsing a new show every month, all while rehearsing the current one.

One important element that makes the process possible is that they don't have to create new characters: Each sister is already well-developed. Candy, for example, is a tomboy whose husband "Cheryl" is stationed on Bora Bora. Seedy is the sweet, innocent one, while Cora plays more to the ditzy side of things.

Such resourcefulness would no doubt have made their grandmothers proud.

2008 Charleston Comedy Festival


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