Turning 60 is no reason to despair, according to “sexygenarian” Melinda Gallant, whose one-woman show, “And Then What Happened? (Or Never Wear Spanx to Fenway Park),” is at Cotuit Center for the Arts’ Black Box Theater through June 24 .
“Old is the new new,” she says in her warm and funny guide to life. The show is sure to appeal to women of a certain age, but men and younger people will also enjoy Gallant’s unorthodox outlook on life. In the show, Gallant plays a “life guide,” also named Melinda, who offers advice on dating, diets, sex, memory loss, and, of course, what not to wear to Fenway Park.
“Life guides,” she said, “are similar to coaches, but no balls are involved.”
Bubbly and personable, and donned in a leopard-skin print dress with a bright red feather boa (which she flirtatiously prevails upon a male audience member to help her remove), Gallant does a fine job holding the audience’s attention and keeping them laughing throughout. Her self-confidence and Melinda’s sassiness , along with material written by her husband Joe Gallant, who seems to understand her sense of humor perfectly, keeps the show lively.
Using a flip chart, an audience questionnaire, and often reading from prepared notes, Melinda shares her life experiences—her days at Ohio State in the 1960s, where she was trying to find her identity (“somewhere between Doris Day and Janis Joplin”), her part-time work as the original voice of GPS, her intense dislike for “bad sheet cake” offered up by annoying co-workers to celebrate every little non-event, and her efforts to invent her own workplace jargon (“think outside the porta-potty”). Her illustrated guide to sexual positions for older folks is unlike anything you have ever seen before—and very funny.
An analysis of “Gidget Goes Hawaiian” started out humorously, with Melinda searching finding profundity in the plot, but it went on a bit long, particularly for those who never watched the movies.
The best part of the show was Gallant’s telling of the title story about that fateful day she wore Spanx (a clinging undergarment designed to make the wearer look 20 pounds lighter) to Fenway Park on a blisteringly hot day. For this part of her show, she put aside her flip chart and notes, and just told her story from the heart, giving a fine impression of the beer hawkers at the ball field in the process.
Here, she connects directly with the audience and wrings every drop of humor out of the situation.
An experienced sketch comedy performer who has also appeared in several films, Gallant is a graduate of the Boston Improv Asylum and directs local community theater, including “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” which will be presented on the main stage at CCftA in September.
“And Then What Happened?” is sold out for the duration of its run in Cotuit (Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 4 PM, through June 24), but, just in case tickets become available, call CCftA at 508-428-0669, or visit artsonthecape.org.