LMT impresses with theatrical talents
Laurier Musical Theatre (LMT) has been practicing tirelessly for months to perfect the Great American Trailer Park Musical, which entertained audiences last weekend with drama and non-stop laughs. In three performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the cast impressed with their theatrical talents.
The play is set in Armadillo Acres trailer park and tells the story of two high-school sweethearts whose marriage has long lost its spark. The relationship grows rockier still with the entrance of the fiery Pippi, a stripper on the run who ends up in Armadillo Acres.
Jeannie (Mackenzie Warner) is a depressed housewife who slowly conquers her agoraphobia only to learn that her frustrated husband Norbert (Nick Fernandez) has been engaging in an extramarital affair with Pippi (Carolyn Crystal).
Crystal’s performance was among the best of the show, demonstrating all the necessary skills — acting prowess and a beautiful voice.
Pippi’s psychotic junkie ex-boyfriend Duke (Conner McKay) is also chasing the seductress around the United States in a murderous rage, all the while indulging his habit of choice — sniffing permanent markers. The show came to a close with a twist, as the characters realize Duke is actually Jeannie and Norbert’s long lost son, a realization which has Duke yelling, “Mama! Holy ham sandwiches!”
The show featured a variety of musical routines, like the upbeat, “This Side of the Tracks,” which provided the musical’s opening number and introduced the audience to the quirky characters. Dramatic numbers were also present, for example with the number “It’s Never Easy.”
The choreography was strong and the product of the collaboration between Bernadette Gomez and Bree Rody-Mantha.
The show managed to revert back and forth between humour and drama, keeping audiences engaged and entertained. The shortcomings of the performance were the vocals and some cast members seemed to struggle with certain numbers.
The standout performances of the night were delivered by Pickles (Natalie Roth), Betty (Liz McNeil) and Linoleum (Nicole Boncheff) who delivered consistently confident, hilarious and musically sound performances and were responsible for furthering the plot throughout the show.
The show itself was the product of five months of hard work. “The rehearsals were pretty gruelling towards the end,” said lead cast member Carolyn Crystal to The Cord. “I ended up meeting some of my best friends in LMT. Though I’m pretty behind in assignments, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
The show was wonderfully written and wrought with hysterical one-liners, many of which were tailored to a mature audience.
When asked what her favourite line was from the show, Crystal replied laughingly, “It had way too much swearing but one of my favourites was ‘Stripping is like an all you can eat waffle bar, you have to know when to walk away.’”
Explaining the nerve-wracking task of portraying a stripper on stage, Crystal said, “It was probably one of the scariest moments of my life, walking out in a corset and straddling a guy,” continuing, “I was kind of embarrassed in front of my mom, but she loved it.”
Although there were plenty of friends and family in attendance, there were still many empty seats, which is a shame considering the “the blood, sweat, and tears” that Crystal explained went in to the
making of the show.
LMT is the last frontier for musical performers at Laurier, since the theatre program was removed several years ago. Accordingly, LMT is funded as a club and has a very tight budget.
It is never too early to start looking into being a part of next year’s production, explained Crystal, specifying, “LMT has a lot of trouble finding guys; if there any guys out there that have dreams of stardom, here’s the place to start!”