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Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical a Decidedly Adult Take on the Season

It's a hoot to watch the actors go full redneck.
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Front row (L-R): Sara Shelby-Martin, Cara Statham Serber, Megan Kelly Bates. Back row (L-R): Amanda Passanante, Tony Daussat. Credit: Karen Almond.

If it worked once, bring it back and slap some tinsel on it. That may have been the thinking behind David Nehls’ and Betsy Kelso’s decision to revisit the tenants of Armadillo Acres, North Florida’s “premier mobile living community,” but good thinking it was. The Christmas continuation—not exactly a sequel—to The Great American Trailer Park Musical is just as raunchy, witty, and raucous as the first, and offers a decidedly adult take on the holidays.

Returning from WaterTower Theatre’s hit 2007 production of the original musical are director James Paul Lemons and his trio of leading ladies: Sara Shelby-Martin (Betty), Cara Statham Serber (Linoleum), and Megan Kelly Bates (Pickles). These three gals just want to get their holiday tan on and win the cash prize for the best decorated trailer park, but crabby new neighbor Darlene (a powerhouse Amanda Passanante) is bah-humbugging all over their Christmas cheer.

She’s especially cruel to sweet-natured Rufus (Tony Daussat), whose creative tree topper on their shared pine sends her into a profanity laced rage. After an electric shock knocks the nasty out of her, the newly jolly, amnesiac Darlene tries to piece together her past while Betty and crew tries to stop her. Part of that past is in the form of her slimy boyfriend, Jackson (Greg Hullett), who owns the breastaurant where Darlene is a waitress.

Hullett is just as gross as the gals are trashy, and it’s a hoot to watch the actors go full redneck. Rodney Dobbs’ garish set combines grimy trailer facades with cheap aluminum decorations, all of which are spectacularly lit by Scott Guenther. Derek Whitener’s costumes are almost spot-on (is Darlene…missing a sleeve?), and the sheer amount of synthetic fabric used might make you squirm.

With David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries running in the Studio Theatre, and The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-Less-Q Nutcracker bumping and grinding in the Stone Cottage, the Addison Theatre and Conference Center seems to have become the hot spot for saucy holiday entertainment. And if you leave humming “F**k It, It’s Christmas,” that’s a good thing.

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