If there's one thing The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical proves, it's that no matter what your position in culture, everyone loves to look down on and make fun of someone else, with the dumb hick the remaining comedic linchpin left to ridicule in our politically correct, status-whoring society.
I say this knowing there's not a mean-spirited note in Montgomery Theater's production of composer and lyricist David Nehls' and book writer Betty Kelso's show. And the cast includes Jenny Lee Stern, a Broadway veteran whose pint-size appearance pumps out a phenomenal singing voice that's worth listening to in any musical.
Trailer Park Christmas draws its plot from Dickens and its cast from Armadillo Acres in Florida, where the December temperature hits 102 and all the inhabitants eagerly compete in the Mobile Home and Gardens (punny, right?) annual Christmas decorating pageant.
All, that is, except Darlene Seward (Stern), the community's Scrooge, who hates the holidays and who refuses to adorn her trailer. When she unplugs the illegal cable-stealing wire of her next-door neighbor Rufus (Joseph Michael O'Brien), the shock erases her memory and Christmas-miracles her into a lovable saint.
Though this frightens the dim-witted Pickles (Elena Camp), park manager Betty (Barbara McCulloh) and Darlene's former enemy Linoleum (Sarah J. Gafgen) see her transformation as a means for them to win the $10,000 pageant prize.
My innocent breakdown of the plot overlooks some of the most laughable moments: Linoleum laments her death-row widow status during the holidays, Pickles' single-motherhood leaves her narcoleptic with exhaustion, everyone refers to Darlene as C-word (a play on Seward), and Rufus downs dollar-store gin in his part-time gig as Santa. Bryan DeSanto plays Jackie, a Hooters-IHOP restaurateur who sums up his business strategy with a hillbilly syllogism: "People like pancakes. And they like boobs. Who needs an MBA?" The rockabilly score's lyrics contain as much foul language as the South Park movie.
Montgomery's cast dives into their roles with aplomb and vigor, Camp embracing her inner bimbo to prance across the stage. Everyone sports a delicious costume designed by Linda B. Stockton, and each new leopard-print or non-ironic outfit is a visual gag in its own right (the purple leather sportcoat DeSanto wears is amazing).
On the whole, I found it 120 minutes of nonsense disguised as holiday fun, a Dumb and Dumber of theater holiday specials. But even as the show approached the two-hour mark, the evil-spirit twist and 10-second flatulence joke continued to bring peals of laughter from the audience, so there must be something here that the good people of Souderton enjoy.
The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical
Extended through Dec. 20 at Montgomery Theater, 124 N Main St., Souderton.
Information: 215-723-9984 or montgomerytheater.org.