Hands on a Hardbody: Crazy car contest given musical twist

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Kelli (Brittany Isaia) and Greg (Joshua Hollander) form a bond in the musical Hands on a Hardbody.

EGLINTON resident Gillian Binks is appearing at Wanneroo’s Limelight Theatre in a musical based on a documentary about a bizarre Texas competition to win a pickup truck.

Directed by David Nelson and Jane Anderson, Hands on a Hardbody tells the story of an annual endurance contest where the last person standing with their hands on the vehicle wins it.

The musical is based on the documentary with each character getting a chance to share their story through song.

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino refers to Hands on a Hardbody as one of his go-to movie recommendations.

“The documentary shows the people involved in the competition and explores what winning a car would mean to them,” Anderson said.

“Most of the contestants were poor, out of work and struggling in some way.”

Nelson said the main appeal of the musical was the fact it was inspired by true events.

“The show is based on real people and a real situation with themes that are relatable to everyone,” he said.

“The music used is country rock, which is both unusual and appealing for a musical.”

Both involved in theatre for more than 30 years, Nelson and Anderson have directed several musicals together including Kinky Boots, The Wedding Singer, The SpongeBob Musical and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

Anderson said Hands on a Hardbody appealed because she loved ensemble shows.

“It means all the cast get a chance to shine,” she said.

“While each person comes to the competition with their own reasons in this story, there is a camaraderie between the contestants.

“They share an often-gruelling task of standing in the heat and going without sleep for up to four days.

“The people are real and the songs are inspirational, sad and silly, meaning the show will take you on a real rollercoaster of emotions.”

One of the main challenges, according to Nelson, is the car.

“We need to create movement within a show that must have the characters with their hands on the car,” he said.

“And we need to create a car that is described in the synopsis as a character, not just a prop.”

Hands on a Hardbody plays at 7.30pm on July 11, 12 and 13.

Limelight Theatre is on Civic Dr, Wanneroo.