CARS HOMES JOBS

Theater review: ‘Trailer Park Musical,’ with delightfully dysfunctional characters, is a hoot

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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— Well, it’s not Chekhov but, believe it or not, you will find touches of classical theater in The Theater Barn’s production of “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.” You will also find every trashy cliché you’ve ever heard about trailer parks. So as not to offend anyone, I must say I’ve seen some pretty classy trailer parks with clean streamlined trailers and lovely gardens, but the one represented in this show isn’t one of them. No, it’s “Armadillo Acres” in Starke, Florida, just off Highway 301.

If you make a visit there, you will spend a couple of uproariously funny hours in the company of its inhabitants — each hilariously dysfunctional.

First, you will meet Betty (Jerielle Morwitz), Pickles (Victoria Broadhurst) and Lin (Caitlin Lester-Sams). Betty is a widow whose husband left her the trailer park, Pickles has hysterical pregnancies and is married to a traveling actor, and Lin’s husband is on death row. “There was a time,” she complains, “when judges had respect for sexual favors.”

‘The Great American Trailer Park Musical’

WHERE: The Theater Barn, Route 20, New Lebanon

WHEN: Through Sunday

HOW MUCH: $24-$22, group rates available

MORE INFO: 794-8989, www.theaterbarn.com

These brilliant comedians function as a sort of Greek chorus, narrating the story and playing various roles. You might be interested to know they use Mazola oil as sun tan lotion.

Then there are Norbert (Shaun Rice) and Jeannie (Katie Clark). Norbert is a toll taker on the highway and Jeannie is an agoraphobic who hasn’t been out of her trailer for 20 years, since her new baby was kidnapped. Norbert attempts to lure her outside by telling her he has tickets to “some classy entertainment.” He intends to take her to the Ice Capades.

Finally, you will meet Pippi (Mary Kate Morrissey) and Duke (Jordan Wolfe). Pippi is an “exotic dancer,” complete with torn fishnet stockings, who has run away from her gun-totin’ boyfriend. Duke is the boyfriend, who sniffs magic markers and giggles afterward.

Norbert and Pippi, who is now working at the Litter Box Show Palace, have an affair and wind up, in one of Jeannie’s nightmares, on “The Great American T.V. Show” (think Jerry Springer) where they trade raunchy insults with the audience.

Yes, there is quite a bit of trash talk and some not-for-prime-time situations, but the show is pure fun. And if you fail to leave the theater humming the tunes, you will have, nevertheless, been treated to some wonderfully rich voices in some catchy and comic songs.

“The Girls” (Betty, Pickles and Lin), Norbert, Jeannie and Pippi open the show with “This Side of the Tracks” and close the first act with “Storm’s A-brewin’.” The second act opener is a hilarious number starring Duke and The Girls” titled “Road Kill.” There are some touching moments too, as when Clark and Rice team up for “Owner of My Heart” and Morrisey, Rice and Clark perform “But He’s Mine/It’s Never Easy.”

Providing great look

The gifted design team includes Abe Phelps (set), Alyssa Couturier (costumes) and Allen E. Phelps (lighting). All are coordinated beautifully. Marjorie Scarff (stage management) and her crew do an excellent job of taking the story to its various locations, including, amazingly, the inside of one of the trailers. Congrats to the set designer.

 
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