Encore Michigan

Dio patrons revel in sold-out ‘Trailer Park’

Review November 26, 2018 Julie Linderleaf

PINCKNEY, Mich.–It’s like Overboard meets Scrooged meets…The Ten Commandments? Then let’s throw in the songs The Twelve Days of Christmas and Dead Man’s Curve and layer it with loads of tinsel and a mud-flap Christmas tree “Angel.” That’s how to sum up The Dio’s The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical complete with a plateful of traditional holiday dinner!

The Dio brings Armadillo Acres Trailer Park back to the stage in its holiday sequel. They brought the original The Great American Trailer Park Musical to their stage in the summer of 2017. Sonja Marquis, Natalie Rose Sevick, and Tori Rogers reprise their roles from the summer show as the trio Betty, Lin, and Pickles. The Christmas musical opens the sequel just 12 days before Christmas and the residents of Armadillo Acres are anticipating the Mobile Homes and Gardens Christmas Decorating Contest Committee to come on Christmas to judge their holiday decorating skills.

They could potentially win $10,000, but there is a small wrinkle in the proceedings. Darlene Seeward, played by Kimberly Alley, hates Christmas and refuses to put one single piece of tinsel on her property. Since she’s such a “C-word,” she also spots that her neighbor, Rufus, played by Steve DeBruyne, is poaching her satellite tv signal, and when she goes to unplug it she is electrocuted. To the residents’ shock, she reawakens, completely loving Christmas! The trio and Rufus decide to play along and keep Darlene unaware of her previous Christmas hate.

Tweve days go by as described in the classically twisted version, “12 days of Amnesia.” When they think they can successfully pull off the win and keep Darlene in the Christmas spirit, Jackie (Jared Hoffert), Darlene’s boss of Stacks Pancake Shack and boyfriend, rolls into the trailer park and helps Darlene begin to remember her original ways. However, Darlene and Rufus were getting a bit too snuggly for Jackie’s taste and decided to wreck their world.

Don’t worry. Just like a good Christmas Miracle, there are happy endings for all at the Armadillo Acres Trailer Park.

This holiday musical, with music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso, borrows storylines from everywhere! The resident trio has the extra character work as the ghosts from A Christmas Carol, the lover from the Platter’s song, “Dead Man’s Curve” where Sonja Marquis humorously dons an Elvis wig and rides a “motorcycle” scooter as Hank, Darlene’s fiance’ of 90 seconds, the main cause of her Christmas hate. Even Hoffert and DeBruyne don a little female attire to assist with some of the flashback stories in Darlene’s past.

Kristin Rene Reeves creates really effective choreography for the small Dio stage. The actors perform the routines with gusto and in precise rhythm. However there was a bit of overdancing in “It’s my favorite time of year.” Alley does a bang-up job playing two completely different characters. Her entire demeanor changes each time she gets shocked. And the shocks are frequent in this show–loose wires, tasers, and just the shock of the strange ending that solves the climatic moment where Jackie is trying to bulldoze the trailer park to the ground and the “Christmas Curse” is revealed through a tree with a voice surprisingly like Yoda.

But as the song says, “F*ck it! It’s Christmas!” The show has great puns and word play, even with a lot of holes in the script, such as if Darlene
has amnesia and can’t remember where she lives, how can she sing the name  of the trailer park? Or how does Jackie buy the Trailer Park and have the rights to evict the residents immediately as well as pay time and a half for bulldozer operators on Christmas Eve? Just ignore the regular house doors on the trailers and cover your ears if you don’t like curse words, because these “ho, ho, hoebags” are working their butts off to bring you a good ole’ Floridian style Christmas where you can walk around in shorts and tank-top on December 25, complete with green bean casserole to boot!

The run of this show is all but sold out, so the public doesn’t need this review to go see it. So, we’ll just say…bless all their hearts in Armadillo Acres, and a good time is being had by all in Pinckney this month at TheDio.

Click here for show days, times and details.