Entertainment :: Theatre

Great American Trailer Park Musical

by Christopher Verleger
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Monday Jul 23, 2012
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Cast members of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" perform the finale.
Cast members of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" perform the finale.  

Welcome to Armadillo Acres, a North Florida trailer park located in the town of Starke and the setting for The Little Theatre of Fall River’s raunchy, raucous and outrageously funny production of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," where Jacksonville is a vacation destination and Ice Capades are the ultimate entertainment experience.

With music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso, "Trailer Park" is home to tenants Betty (Janet Silveira Maynard), Lin (Susan Fortes-Couitt) and Tina (Lauren Anne Santos). Tina earned the nickname Pickles because she perpetually believes she is pregnant. Lin, short for ’linoleum’ and so named because she was born on a kitchen floor, has a husband on death row. Betty, the resident matriarch, became manager by default when her husband died and left her the keys.

These three "blondes," clad in tank tops, Payless pumps and proud to show a full set of teeth, gather together on their fold-up patio chairs to guzzle beer and unashamedly share stories and songs about themselves, as well as their neighbors’ sordid lives.

No, "the Girls" are not exactly The Dixie Chicks, but each entertaining tune from this trio either offers invaluable advice ("It Doesn’t Take a Genie"), tells a grisly story ("Flushed Down the Pipes"), or makes a profound statement ("That’s Why I Love My Man").

The latest scandal to occupy their time involves recent boarder, Pippi (Vanessa Raposa), an Oklahoma stripper on the run from her jealous beau, Duke (Greg Silver). One night at work, Pippi becomes acquainted with her neighbor, Norbert (Jeff Belanger), and the two become especially friendly, much to the chagrin of Norbert’s agoraphobic wife, Jeannie (Cheryl Field).

Maynard, Santos and Fortes-Couitt work especially well together as the Girls, both rhythmically and vocally, and Belanger looks every bit the part of his toll booth operator, Norbert.

Jeannie’s disappointment is overshadowed by her concern for Norbert’s safety when Duke arrives in town and discovers that Pippi has been unfaithful. The ensuing melodrama is messy, infantile and ridiculous, yet pretty freakin’ hysterical.

Robert Mathew Perry does a fabulous job directing this cast of quirky, maladjusted characters. Maynard, Santos and Fortes-Couitt work especially well together as the Girls, both rhythmically and vocally, and Belanger looks every bit the part of his toll booth operator, Norbert.

Field is sweet and unassuming as Jeannie, and Silver’s silliness shines as the magic marker-sniffing Duke. Raposa’s delightfully tawdry portrayal of Pippi steals the show, with her singing talent garnering as much attention as her outfits.

You may not want to stay for long, but if you’re just passing through, Armadillo Acres, host of The Little Theatre of Fall River’s "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," will welcome you with open arms -- and a six-pack of beer.

"The Great American Trailer Park Musical" runs through July 29 at The Firebarn, Little Theatre of Fall River, 340 Prospect Street, Fall River, MA. For info or tickets, visit the The Little Theatre of Fall River’s website.

Chris Verleger is an avid reader, aspiring novelist and self-professed theater geek from Providence. Email cwverleger1971@yahoo.com.

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