The Great American Trailer Park Musical is directed by Lauran Caldwell, so you can be sure the farce, spectacle, and lasciviousness is maxed to eleven on a ten-number dial. Caldwell unapogetically goes for it, which is one of the many reasons she is so admired and beloved. At the heart of the play is Grace Choi (Avenue Q) as sort of a trailer park Scrooge who is the dark cloud of the proceedings until an unfortunate interaction with electricity fries some Christmas Spirit into her brain. We are treated to a thematic parody of Christmas Carol, a number of low-brow raunchy songs with occasionally stellar moments of extremely bad taste expertly delivered by the cast who make the most of hit-and-miss material. Alec James Plays Rufus as a dumb-as-a-tick lovable Redneck who is just trying to make things work for the best, and he plays it large and loud. Betty, Lynn, and Pickles are the Greek chorus. Pickles (Marissa Toogood) is the clueless blond from Three's Company, Lynn--born on a 'Lynn'olium floor (Stephanie Lynge)--is sassy and street-smart, and Betty (Susan Haldeman) is their fearless smarter dyke-ish leader. (Can I say that? Sure. It's The Great American Trailer Park Musical - Why ruin the review with entirely good taste?) Betty is large and in charge, and seems to be the most realistically portrayed of the cartoonish collection of characters. Betty has heart. Occasionally, the comedy is a tad overplayed with winks and nods which ironically causes a few jokes not to land, and some of the writing is more blatantly crude then actually funny. (Example: the four-letter convention of the song, Fu** Christmas has been done better in Team America's pithy song, America, fu** yeah.) The gratuitous F-bomb is an old base joke, but is still fun to listen to even as we cringe--like a quality fart joke. But many of the ribald bits do land and several patrons on opening night spit sprays of beer and wine between helpless gufaws and chortles on their suits and dresses. Everyone in the audience was having a great time.
The production values, choreography (Ric Rose, with Stephanie Lynge), set-design (Mihai Ciupe), properties (Lorelei Esser), Costumes (Marilyn A. Wall) and lighting (Robert P. Robbins) are all top-notch. This is a show that demands brains (and freakin' cellphones please...) be switched off, drinks be drunk, political correctness be damned, and blouses and ties be loosened. For one of the weirdest risqué barn-yard Summer Christmas jaunts ever to be experienced in Florida, the Great American Christmas Park Musical delivers the presents and they're loving re-gifts: tacky, trashy, hot, sweaty & sunny, Summer, Halloween-nativity-scene?, electrically charged dangerous haunted sexy musical gross hilarious fun with songs, boobs & pancakes. You really want to miss that? I'll be back to see this again before Christmas actually arrives to ruin everything.
-- Tom Miller
* Photos by Michael Eaddy