Hindi Greenberg: A funny, rollicking, endearing play
LeGacy Productions’ current play, “Dearly Beloved,” is a wonderfully funny, over-the-top — but true to life — comedy about a wedding.
Well, not really about a wedding. But everything surrounding the wedding, including family, aging, relationships, disappointment, letting go of old grudges, getting through ridiculous new situations, self-confidence and, of course, love.
The audience adored this portrait of a dysfunctional but lovable Texas family and their often hilarious antics because, as outrageous as the antics are, we’ve all had some of these same thoughts and emotions in our own life’s experiences.
Written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones and Nicholas Hope — the trio that also wrote “Dixie Swim Club,” LeGacy’s hit from last year — most of the action takes place in the small, fictional Texas town of Fayro, in the church fellowship hall.
One of the twin daughters of Frankie Futrelle Dubberly and her husband Dub is marrying the son of a snobby woman who’s considered “the queen of what passes for high society in Fayro.”
The wedding is set to a “Gone with the Wind” theme, with a tacky potluck dinner to be served after the nuptials. But then the bride and groom go missing and all plans fall apart.
The three Futrelle sisters — Frankie, Honey Raye and Twink — years before had gained some fame as the Sermonettes, a gospel group singing on the revival circuit, until Honey Raye prematurely broke up the group by marrying an evangelist/ventriloquist.
As with any family reunion, there are old memories to rehash and old scores to settle, but while extremely funny and entertaining, there are some genuinely felt moments that give the play solid and poignant emotional resonance.
Nancy Haffey as Frankie, Nancy Keith as Honey Raye and Kim Wellman as Twink all contribute excellent performances, bringing to life the distinct personalities of their characters through superb timing and delivery — ensemble acting at its finest.
Uniformly confident, all actors exude an obvious chemistry with each other.
Director John Bivens, whose assured, creative staging moves the production briskly along, also plays the ditsy, gun-happy sheriff. Sue LeGate Halford, always good for a laugh, is a hoot as the brash flower designer/wedding arranger. Nadia White is perfectly attuned as the single and unconfident twin daughter of Frankie and Dub (a nicely understated Adam Morton).
Carolyn Winters does fine double duty playing both the town psychic and the haughty mother of the groom — her eventual comeuppance is priceless.
Kris Meadows, a UPS driver/seminary student, has several very funny turns. And Brandon Johnson comically careens around the stage as the overly-medicated inamorato of Twink.
The cleverly movable set and lighting designed by Les Solomon, the character-defining costumes by Sharon Sciabica and the spot-on banjo music and sound by John Bivens greatly contribute to establishing the proper tone and locale for the play.
This is a funny, raucous, endearing romp, from which you will exit with a giant smile on your face. And who doesn’t need a smile and a laugh in these trying times!
Definitely see it at the Nevada Theatre through June 23.
Although Hindi Greenberg’s upbringing in Minneapolis was far different in style from Fayro, Texas — she didn’t have banjo music playing as the backdrop to her life — the substance wasn’t necessarily so. And she does still sometimes talk to Mama Edie (see the play … ).
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