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From a Boston Arts contributor

''Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean'' (at the Alley Theatre through Dec. 10) is a Texas-size story of big secrets, big fights, and big forgivenesses. And it takes place inside a tiny dime store.

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The occasion is a reunion of the James Dean fan club on the 20th anniversary of his brief visit to a nearby town where he filmed ''Giant.'' Some members of the fan club haven't been the same since. Into this happy reunion comes one fan club member who starts spilling everyone's deep secrets.

These are big characters, from the raucous and lusty Sissy (played by Nancy Doyle) to the slow but ineffably sweet mother of seven, Edna-Louise (Sally Campbell), to the superbly controlled Joanne (played by Dorothy A. Gallagher), to Rosamund Lang Hooper's fretful, secretive Mona, around whom the story centers. My only quibble is that they're all about five years too young.

While much of the play does consist of surprising exposes, they're done without venom, and you're left feeling that the women are actually relieved to be free of the burden. They all manage to do some fast forgiving.

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