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Little Theatre’s ‘Trailer Park’ defies cheap formula

I may be exaggerating a bit, but it seems Vegas theater reviews are getting easier to write. First, you complain about the simple material, the jokes about the ignorant South or the backwoods lowlifes. You then wonder if there’s anything new out there worth dramatizing. And then, regrettably, you talk about how well all this cliche stuff is put over by local performers.

So, here’s my formulaic review for this week: Las Vegas Little Theatre’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” deals with several residents in Cheapsville, Fla., who are dealing with their sad, twang-songed love lives. We’re meant to laugh at how ignorantly they talk and their goofy line of reasoning. You’ve heard these one-liners before, but their familiarity makes you laugh again. Nothing like feeling superior to encourage a chuckle or three from those of us who know how to talk good.

But, to my chagrin, this insult to humanity is made worth watching thanks to the inventive direction of Troy Heard, a top-notch cast, the tongue-perfectly-set-in-cheek choreography by Erin Marie Sullivan, a clever, three-home set by David Sankuer, the most appealing white-trash eloquence I’ve seen in a while by costumer Jerry Allen, and a versatile lighting design by Ginny Adams that has the swing of a half-carnival, alternating with the melancholy of a romantic “I lost her” musical ambiance.

Heard and his cast never cross the line into goofiness. I can’t imagine what rehearsals must have been like as they tried to find the right tone. Without exception, the cast is exceptional – from Scott Caster’s befuddled cheatin’ husband who is really in love with his wife; Jennier King, Vicky Best and Kim Glover as three rough-necked narrators; Kelly Ward as a heartbreakingly vulnerable agoraphobic; and Eric Wilson, who thinks a gun is the way to solve all problems. Their singing is as exciting as their parody presence.

So, I’m forced to say well done, well done. But Mr. Heard: Why? You’re a major talent. And life is so short. There are so many breathtaking dramas and comedies that Vegas has yet to see. Have you no greater purpose in life?

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at vegas theaterchat@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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