Great American Trailer Park Musical, not a show for Kids
The final show at Orange Community Players is not your usual family entertainment. In fact it is not a show for children and not advertised as such. It is however, fasten your seatbelt and hang on funny. It is a chronicle of life in a north Florida mobile home community; a Redneck Trailer Park.
To assist in telling the story are three “muses”. Betty, Lin, and Pickles. Betty, played by Amber Martin, is the leader of the three and plays the part to the role as she has played others at OCP, like she was born to it. Betty is the manager of Armadillo Acres, “America’s finest mobile home community” and leaves no doubt that she is in charge. In the role of the host of the Great American TV Show, she channels a popular TV hostess with her bright red rimmed glasses and dark blue dress that looks like the inside of an old oven. She also can referee a “Jerry Springer” moment.
Keri Foreman steps out of the chorus and shows that she has a gift for comedy and a good voice. She is the hard hearted redneck wife of a man waiting time in “Old Smokey”, the electric chair. Her major goal is keeping all of the lights in town lit so as to deprive the state the needed power to fry her precious Earl. Her one liners often include the audience. Good show Gal.
Pickles, the 17 year old with less brainpower than a rag mop, is well done by Mallory Matt. Pickles contends to be pregnant, is she or isn’t she? She also has the blank look of a sheet of typing paper as situations among the other residents are explained to her by Betty and Lin. Not the strongest voice in the play, she does a good job and is refreshing to watch as her long pigtails fly with her moves.
Barry Foster in the part of Norbert Garstecki acts as though his life is no better than wasted. He is a toll collector in a 20 year marriage to a woman who will not leave their trailer. He drifts into a situation with “another woman”, knows he is where he should not be and spends his time onstage with the hangdog look of a Bassett Hound. Foster is very good in his “what do I do?” situation . “I’m glad to be able to sing the way I can in this and not in the more formal way I usually have to”, said Foster. We are too…good job Foster!
Jeanie Garstecki is Norbert’s agoraphobic wife. She has not left the trailer in nearly 20 years. Their anniversary is fast approaching and she desperately wants to get out of the trailer and off the porch. Carrie E. Wilson is believable in this part. She has the facial expression and the moves of the lady suffering from traumas of several natures. The shining parts of her performances are when Wilson sings. Her strong voice is mesmerizing, especially in “Panic. There are times when she brings to mind the “red hot mommas” of the 20s and 30s.
“I’m a singer, not an actor”, was the statement Michael Hudnall made about getting the part of Duke, the permanent marker and cooking spray sniffing, Costco shopping, pink pistol carrying villain, who is looking for his stripper girl friend and creating roadkill. Hudnall, you are wrong, you are a good actor, and a great musician with a good voice. His dark, slightly goofy character is well done and very intimidating to the nearly brainless Pickles. The dark song “Roadkill” makes you aware that there are those who create roadkill for fun.
As good as the other six actors are, when Pippi comes on stage, she owns the stage. Played by Jessica Bean, Pippi is a stripper on the run from boyfriend Duke. She drifts in to Armadillo Acres. Her sexy performance at the “Litter Box” grabs the attention of the entire audience. Bean plays Pippi as though she has been her. In her “other woman” role, she shows compassion for her friend and sadness for her loss. The high point of the show is in the last act when she makes a “discovery”, her facial expressions are not to be missed.
This production also brings live music back to OCP. Music director Joshua Scales assembled a four piece band. He leads from the piano bench and is accompanied by Brandon Boas on Guitar, Jonathan Leon on Bass, and Immanuel Brooks on drums.
Overall this is a show you should not miss if you like off color humor and great belly laughs. One patron laughed so hard she fell out of her chair.
The final shows are Thursday, April 23, Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 at 7:37 p.m. The show closes with a matinee on Sunday, April 26 at 2:37 p.m.