By GEORGETTE SPELVIN
My last “Ten thoughts” went over pretty, so here come 10 more, having seen “Hands on a Hardbody” at the Henegar Center:
1. If you think this is The Full Monty The Sequel, think again; it’s not about a Chippendale’s dancer or a guy who works out at the Iron Pit. It’s a witty, intelligent musical about the lives and dreams of 10 Americans and the Hardbody is the new pickup truck they want to win by keeping their hands on it for more hours than health and sanity allow. It portrays a little of everybody, just people, and it is not typical anything. More about the truck later.
Suffice to say “Hands” manages to be thought-provoking without being full of deep, dark meaning, so nothing about it is bothersome, preachy or depressing. All things considered, it’s actually pretty joyous.
2. Were I a secondary English or drama teacher, I’d follow the lead of Rodney Savickis of Melbourne High School and take the kids to the play. What an excellent teaching tool.
3.The choreography (not merely dancing, which is pretty dang good too) is sneakily complex and stunningly original. Hustle down New Haven and take a bow or two, Kim Cole.
Brighid Reppert’s set, the center of which is the red pickup on a giant turntable and the backdrop of which is a faded dealership sign that just screams small-town Texas, is low-key terrific. This should not be surprising.
4. Every single actor in this play shines. All of them. No missed cues. No poor delivery. No weak voices. No silly mugging. Just beautifully done.
5. The relationship of the Drews, J.D. and Virginia, is expressed ever so poignantly by Gregory Galbreath and Shane Frampton. You think, “I know those people.”
6. Show-stealer: Christine Brandt (Heather Stovall). “It’s a Fix” needs no fixing. She’s perfect.
7. Great Moments at Henegar: A deadpan Joe Horton (as Chris Alvaro) jiggles his dogtags. If you’ve ever worn tags, you get it. Or have done it.8. Deft direction by Hank Rion and a brilliant portrayal by Dominic Del Brocco keep Mike Ferris, the lecherous, indebted dealership manager, from descending into caricature. Del Brocco is marvelous again, and aren’t we lucky to have so many good men onstage in Brevard?
9. A quibble from someone who is too OCD for her own good: The year 2005 is mentioned, as are relatively recent military deployments, but Nissan stopped producing the Hardbody in 1997.
10. Number 9 doesn’t matter. Go see “Hands on a Hardbody.”
Read a story about the Henegar’s challenges in producing “Hands on a Hardbody” by clicking here.
SIDE O’ GRITS: HANDS ON A HARDBODY runs through May 21 at the Henegar Center, 625 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne. It performs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $26 general, $23 for seniors and military and $16 student. There is also a $3 processing fee. The show contains adult language. Call 321-723-8698, visit Henegar.org or click onto their ad.