Die laughing at 'Dearly Departed'
You'll die laughing at HART's current production "Dearly Departed."
The David Bottrell and Jessie Jones play makes fun — a lot of fun — of funerals and the families they bring together. As HART executive director Steven Lloyd said during intermission, "Everybody has some family members like that."
Deliciously Southern, HART's cast doesn't have to fake accents. As usual, Lloyd's uncanny ability to cast the perfect actors for each part is present. It would be hard to imagine anyone other than HART veteran Lyn Donley playing the fuss-budget 'Mrs. Full-charge' Marguerite who makes us laugh with just about everything she says.
Teresa Breakey said after the performance that her character Lucille was probably the "closest to normal" of the wacky dysfunctional family gathered to plan the funeral service for Bud Turpin, whose untimely death was not mourned so much as it was tolerated.
This isn't Shakespeare. It's slapstick in a funeral parlor. The actors clearly have a blast and go over the top, which is exactly what is called for in this irreverent romp. Before the curtain went up, one patron was heard to whisper, "I hope this isn't raunchy."
No, it isn't raunchy. It's ripe with remarks that families make without thinking, and it has a big heart. The 14-member cast doesn't have a weak link and is directed admirably by Judy Dybwad. In a rare departure for HART, the music used between the many short scenes and before the show is recorded.
The choices are excellent and you will like the mix, but it would have been nice to hear one of the region's many good bluegrass bands presenting it from the orchestra pit. If you have a sense of humor that permits you to chill out when the going gets tough, "Dearly Departed" is made for you.
The show runs each weekend until Sept. 1. For tickets, call 456-6322.