Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Great American Trailer Park Musical review at Waterloo East Theatre – ‘vibrant score’

The cast of the Great American Trailer Park Musical at Waterloo East, London.
by -

The drama and mayhem of life on a Florida trailer park is brought vividly to life in this UK premiere of David Nehls and Betsy Kelso’s comedy musical. Nehl’s contemporary score is a neatly constructed pastiche of country/rock anthems and sentimental ballads, reflecting the heightened emotional make-up of the characters.

The stereotypical trailer park resident has long been an easy target for US satirists and Kelso’s book adds little that’s new to the myths sustained by the likes of My Name Is Earl and South Park. As such, this show unfolds as a one-joke musical that nurtures scant empathy for its target despite the lively score and happy ending.

Director Kirk Jameson has gathered an exceptional company for this production including Rosemary Ashe, Michelle Bishop and Jodie Steele as a girl-group chorus of residents in some extremely dodgy wigs, who narrate the central drama. Jameson is undaunted by the intimate space and directs with energy and invention but choreographer Rebecca Howell however rarely rises to this challenge.

Sabrina Aloueche as stripper-on-the-run Pippi and Jemma Alexander as agoraphobic housewife Jeanie, both lend grace and style to their respective ballads but either side, the comic devices are hackneyed and the denouement oddly unsatisfying.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Vibrant score with strident vocals, but the joke wears thin too quickly