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Trouble in Armadillo Acres

It’s a hoot, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” perfectly in keeping with New Milford’s adventurous TheatreWorks. But it’s risky. Risky because a play about the residents of Armadillo Acres trailer park in northern Florida could look exploitive, like those TV shows that nudge frail people into telling us how base and absurd they can be. But no. These people are impudent, self-assured, and troubled. Seventeen-year-old Pickles (Abby Nissenbaum), who runs the flan stand and breaks out into Valley Girl talk, now and then, is in a perpetual state of hysterical pregnancy; Linoleum (Beth Harvison), Lin for short, so named because she was born on the kitchen floor, is determined to do whatever necessary to keep her mate out of the electric chair; and Betty (Elyse Jasensky), the park manager whose husband died and left her the keys to the trailer park, wears tights covered in studs and keeps everything in fairly good order. Somehow, they all come off kind of tough; kind of dear. What is frail is the plot. And the songs. They all sound alike. But no matter. The characters, many outfitted spectacularly in gold lamé, leather boots, and partially concealed weapons, can sing, tell a joke and make us sorry we don’t know them. Tracy Hurd is Jeannie, the agoraphobic housewife who has kept to her trailer for the last 20 years; Justin Boudreau as Duke, who sniffs magic markers and sports a handgun named Belinda, takes over every time he comes on stage. And Michael Wright as the shield wearing toll taker who falls for Pippi (Deanna Chorman), the dancer, is the big, sad fellow who wants his trailer-bound wife to go to the Ice Capades with him for their 20th wedding anniversary. It’s just one punch line after another, but the actors are having a great time. And that seems good enough. The “Great American Trailer Park Musical” runs at TheatreWorks in New Milford through June 19. Tickets: call 860-350-6863 or www.theatreworks.us.

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