We all wonder about reunions, in one way or another. Think about the people who were in your life five, 10, or 20 years ago. If you saw them again, what would you want to know about them? What would you share about yourself? And how much of all of that would be the truth?

Truth is a dodgy thing. We can go for years, decades, maybe even our entire lives telling ourselves not to see what is right in front of us. If we’re really good, we might even convince a few of our friends to go along with the act (but more likely, they were just pretending out of kindness).

Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean is about that and a little bit more. It’s a strange reflection on life in a small Texas town and what changes, what remains the same.

At the same time, it’s also a reflection on a time in American history already dizzyingly far off in our collective rearview mirrors. Much of the story, about a group of friends in 1975 reflecting on 1955, seems far removed from daily life today in an age of Facebook and Google searches.

The old saw about how the more things change, the more they stay the same remains essentially true. Pretending that having lots of money is the same as being happy is a trap with a long history, and yet people keep slipping into it. Manipulative mothers, shallow men, and brutal adolescents: Dig deep enough and you’ll see why people pad their lives with so many lies.

This is not to say that there aren’t moments of innocence and beauty here. The story is peppered with snappy Southern wit and nostalgia. The set design is a gorgeous recreation of the inside of a 5 and Dime and the small cast delivers some outstanding acting. The Department of Theater at College of Charleston has been producing some prodigious work in recent years and, this latest effort is yet another example of exactly that. This is a Jimmy Dean welcome to come back anytime. —Jason A. Zwiker

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