We’ll Make Like A Nail and Press On – The Great American Trailer Park Musical Review

Hart House Theatre’s 2011/2012 season kicked off at the end of September with The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which they promised was “a tongue-in-cheek, rockabilly romp filled with strip clubs, hysterical pregnancies and dreams of the Ice Capades”. With a claim like that, we didn’t bother to even look into things any further and eagerly accepted our invitation to this.

Sitting in the best seats Hart House has given us yet, we had a fifth row view of the trashy hijinks of the folks dwelling on the other side of the tracks in a Stark, Florida trailer park. The story is musically narrated by three trailer park dwellers: Betty (Saphire Demitro) – the leader of the pack, clad in a full leopard print body suit, Lin (Jennifer Morris) – whose full name is Linoleum because her mother gave birth to her on the kitchen floor and Donna (Sarite Harris) “Pickles” – who suffers from a severe hysterical (and hilarious) pregnancy. It’s a whole lot of hairspray, leopard print and manicured finger nails – believe us.

The three “ladies” spread gossip throughout the show, keeping us up to date on the details concerning the demising marriage of Jeannie (Janice Hawke), an agoraphobic who hasn’t set foot outside of their trailer in 20 years and Norbert Garstecki (James R. Woods), who’s frustrations with his wife’s issues lands him in the arms of the new girl in town, exotic dancer Pippi (Kelly McCormack). But Pippi’s past, ex-boyfriend Duke (Justin Bott), is hot on her heels and determined to find Pippi and bring her back home, no matter what the cost. Just another day at the trailer park.

We have seen a lot of musicals, two of which have been Hart House productions, and we are rarely disappointed. That said, we can easily say that the quality of the musical numbers in this production is definitely one of the best. The cast is probably one of the most talented casts we’ve seen perform together. The harmonies between Demitro, Morris and Harris are almost angelic at times. Well, angelic with a hint of hick twang, anyway. And the set of… lungs on McCormack are most impressive, especially in her end number where she has the chance to really show off her… talents.

We were suitably impressed that even with a small cast of seven, they were able to pull off such a full bodied play with effective use of props and characters. The dream sequence was absolutely perfect and completely spot on for atypical American trashy talk shows (we’re looking at you, Jerry and Maury!). A sequence which left these CityGirls in hysterical stitches.

From start to finish, the play is laced with stereotypical trailer trash jokes, outrageous dance numbers, cat fights, witty song lyrics and pop culture references that had the audience laughing nonstop throughout the night.

Hart House’s season definitely started on the right side of the tracks. The short three week run ends on October 8, so try and catch it before it’s too late.

images from Hart House website