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Update time:2021-06-19 14:18Tag:

Maybe it was my wishful thinking or maybe the one-liners were hysterical, but I do believe the audience laughed extra hard this past Saturday night as it watched what was undoubtedly the first live theatrical production in Hendersonville since the pandemic started.

The show was “Always a Bridesmaid,” playing at Hendersonville Community Theatre.

For months, I¨ve been wondering which theater?company would produce the first play once the worst of the pandemic was behind us. Even more so, I wondered what would be the play.?

Now, I¨ve seen “Always a Bridesmaid” a couple or so times, and it is always guaranteed to be a laugh a minute. After all, you have four feisty southern belles weathering years of marriage and bridesmaid dresses of every tacky sort.

In my opinion, HCT made the right choice to start its delayed and shortened 55th season with a true classic comedy. After months of isolation, we needed a few laughs without fear of disease-carrying projectile spittle.

Like some of the similar shows before it -?such as TV¨s Golden Girls, Steel Magnolias, The Dixie Swim Club, and The Hallelujah Girls – “Always a Bridesmaid” is about the enduring power of friendship among strong women.

It all started when four wallflower teenagers promised to be bridesmaids in each other¨s weddings. Little did they know at the high school prom, there would be multiple weddings, drama aplenty, and many twists of fate for some 30 years to come.

One would marry once and for all. Another never married but got real close. Another married, divorced, and married the same guy again. And another married again and again and again.

There are six women in the cast. Throughout the show, a young, beautiful and tipsy bride in full whites opens and closes each scene with chatty insights in between sips of bubbly. We come to find out she,?Kari, is the daughter of one of the bridesmaids – Libby Ruth.

She¨s getting married on this day, if she can stay sober, and she is eternally grateful to her mother and godmothers for their lessons in life.

Actress Matilyn Hull is an excellent good-natured lush. We¨ve seen her before in “Steel Magnolias” and “August: Osage County,” and hope to see her often.

Kari¨s mom is Libby Ruth, played by Tiffany Hill, who is best known locally as a mid-day radio DJ. Libby is the sensible one in the bunch with a somewhat overly positive attitude that could melt sugar for mint juleps.

After decades of putting theater aside for morning drive time, Hill is back on stage. Thanks to her years of radio work, Hill has an excellent voice for the live stage, only exceeded by her enduring smile.

Dallas Martin plays Deedra, the career woman with a taste for firewater and alpha men. Unlike her sisters in chiffon, Deedra left Virginia to be a judge in Washington, D.C., where she was a besotted power broker.

Although this character was made to be a little more emotionally distant than the others, Martin brought wit, dignity, and grace to absurd dressing room situations that a lesser actress might have found difficult to maneuver. Nothing rustles her feathers.

Charlie, the Birkenstock-wearing tree hugger, was played by Kailey Blasius, who was on the HCT stage for the first time. As the bridesmaid who never married, Charlie was often the odd woman out — out hiking or saving the planet.

As fate might have it, Blasius says the role was perfect for her – as she gets to play herself. Down to earth, plain and simple, Charlie doesn¨t need a man, not even the bug zapper she left at the altar.

Coming in large and in charge was Monette, played by Sabrina Rock, who is guilty of first-degree scene stealing. Maybe it was the character or maybe it was the actress (probably both), but everything is always about Monette. She is the entr└e on this southern buffet, and everyone else is a side dish.

Not many women can wear a pink Marie Antoinette French hooped dress, be compared to a double-wide trailer?and laugh at herself. This was Rock¨s first time on the HCT stage; hopefully not her last.

The sixth woman in the play is Sedalia, played by Dru Dykes. Sedalia is the no-nonsense owner of the event venue where all these gals get hitched. The historic Laurelton Oaks, just north of Richmond, is shabby chic clashed with southern gothic with a touch of pre-wedding clutter. Greek columns are always appropriate no matter what the occasion.

With dry wit and an axe in a velvet glove, Sedalia keeps everything and everyone moving toward the altar. We last saw Dykes as Woman in “Urang Durang.”

As the decades pass by and the marriages stack up, these four women roll with the punches and get in a few good licks of their own. They poke at each other¨s tender under bellies, but nothing -?especially not a man – will ever come between them,?not even pleated polyester lavender bridesmaids dresses.

Like most southern events, it¨s not the wedding that everyone comes to see; they come to see each other and trade backhanded compliments.

On a personal note, thank you, Hendersonville Community Theatre, for turning on the stage lights. It¨s been a long, boring and deadly pandemic. I needed something new, something old, something borrowed, and something blue.

Thanks to Director Jonathan Forrester for letting these actresses and their characters banish the woes of the past many months if just for a couple of hours.

“Always a Bridesmaid” continues at HCT Friday througSunday, June 11-13.