It has been on my “to see” list for a couple of weeks – and especially essential viewing as this production includes two of my previous colleagues (Shondelle Pratt, Assistant Director during BSN and Julian Ramundi from Stories from the 428) – and was highly recommended by one of my cast members this year.

Advertised as “South Park meets desperate housewives”… this is the worst of American culture – TV, fattening food, questionable morals, pole dancing – tanned skin and blond perms… The blurb goes a little something like:
“Welcome to the Armadillo Acres, the most exclusive trailer park in North Florida, where having your baby kidnapped isn’t half as tragic as a getting a bad perm.”

It is a tragic portrait. An unflattering, gaudy, astroturf/fake tan reality- the worst of America- which we, as Australians see a lot of. Drawing on all the cliches of trailer parks, and the people who live in them, this is a show which makes light of the dire and the desperate reality for many Americans. It’s also a musical – so insert template here: traditional love triangle, missing child, a chorus of knowing narrators, impending threat from a wild pen-sniffing ex boyfriend (Think Little Shop of Horrors) and an exotic dancer with a heart of gold…

Directed by Jay James- Moody with musical direction by Chris King this is a sturdy production full of colour and suitable cliches, sparkles and phenomenal performances by actors who can REALLY sing! It is no easy task to wrangle and facilitate a musical at a Pro-Am theatre. It takes a lot of time and resource to put on a musical – and at the pointy end of the year – this is no easy feat. James- Moody has done a fantastic job … and I look forward to seeing more of his work. As for the cast – they are fantastic all great singers – all hilarious performers who spray on the cheese with grand abandon (Lauren Kate Butler, Keira Daley, Shannon McKinn, Max Newstead, Shondelle Pratt, Julian Ramundi, Ines Vaz de Sousa).

The play itself is full of contemporary in-jokes, pop culture references and cliches and is an accessible and easy to follow story with some catchy songs. There is nothing subtle about this show – it’s a musical – it’s fun, funny, stupid, ugly and obvious… the theatrical trailer park equivalent of reading Who magazine. You won’t learn anything new, but then again, some shows are about surrendering to just taking it for what it is – a hilarious, high energy, robust joke that America is ugly and crap – but that’s ok. If you are sick of Christmas shopping – and earnest plays check it out.