Question: Can a musical about static trailers travel? Answer: Yes and no.
Though we associate caravan parks more with seaside holidays or travellers who have dunromanying, we can certainly relate to the idea of an economically and educationally disadvantaged section of society.
The Americans might call them white trash, we might call them chavs but they are stereotypically identified as the shameless attention seekers usually to be found baring souls, secrets, teeth and (occasionally) chests on confessional chat shows hosted by the likes of Jerry Springer and Jeremy Kyle.
But we are two nations divided by a common language, which is why gags about Tivo, Ted Nugent and what flan* is made of fall stony ground in the UK.
Armadillo Acres is a “manufactured housing community” located on the wrong side of the tracks in Florida.
It is the setting for the type of sordid domestic drama that is grist to Jerry and Jezza’s mill.
Norbert and Jeannie are shotgun wedding childhood sweethearts, however Jeannie hasn’t set foot outside the trailer since their son was kidnapped while she was distracted by a disastrous perm 20 years earlier.
A despairing Norbert seeks comfort in the arms of their new trailer neighbour, an exotic dancer named Pippi who is fleeing her magic marker-sniffing boyfriend.
All this is watched, interpreted and egged on by a Greek chorus of the parks residents. The manageress Betty who has buried her husband in the grounds, Lin (short for Linoleum) whose spouse is awaiting execution just as soon as they have enough electricity to charge up the chair and Pickle, who is given to hysterical pregnancies.
The trailer musical taps the same satirical vein as Hairspray, but despite the spirited delivery and some sharp one-liners it fails to inspire many belly laughs.
The songs, while amusing, don’t linger beyond the door. However, the singing is phenomenal, with the type of gospel resonance only genuine Americans seem to be able produce. The performances are consistently good, though the comedic versatility of both Doreen Barnard as Betty and Caitlin Maloney (Pickle) is particularly impressive
* Running time: Two hours, 30 mins. Until Saturday.
* In England a flan is usually a sponge or pastry base with sweet or savoury filling. In American flan is what we would call creme caramel.