note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Beverly Creasey
THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL, it turns out, is a trashy good time: bad jokes, a worse plot and three gloriously mouthy women. What’s not to like? The denizens of the Armadillo Acres trailer park duke it out in song, from rock to country western to gospel, a la BATBOY or GREASE. If that’s your cup of musical brew, then the SpeakEasy show (playing through May 30th) will have you giggling.
What makes the SpeakEasy Stage production sizzle are the performances: Director Paul Daigneault has found the perfect cast for the little musical comedy with a heart of gold. Leigh Barrett is its sweetheart as the naďve agoraphobic who can’t leave her Winnebago even for her 20th Anniversary. David Benoit as her frustrated, fraying husband manages to be sympathetic, even when he keeps company with a pole dancing neighbor (Caitlin Crosbie Doonan)---whose magic marker sniffing boyfriend (Grant MacDermott) is hot on her trail.
The best thing about THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL is the formidable trio of narrator/extras: Kerry Dowling as their Dolly Partonesque ringleader, Mary Callanan as the wife of a Death Row prisoner and Santina Umbach as a spacey twentysomething who thinks she may be pregnant. (They’re a scream dressed up as good old boys, too!)
The songs (by David Nehls) are clever, with a few worthy of note: Barrett’s cheeky Flushed Down the Pipes is a keeper and MacDermott’s Road Kill is hilarious, especially for Daigneault’s ingenious staging. Make Like a Nail and Press On is one of those country western send-ups (like the songs in Altman’s NASHVILLE) which almost seem authentic, they’re so good. As they say in the song, Thanks for the Ride.