LUST ‘N RUST, The trailer park musical, Lawn Chair Theater, at the Theatre Building. This new work–written, directed, and produced by a trio of corporate writers/weekend musicians–should by all rights be god-awful. After all, poking fun at poor white rural folk is as old as the hills. Even the idea of musicalizing this milieu has been done to death (see Pump Boys and Dinettes and the musical version of L’il Abner).
But the tunes in this show are right nice. Frank Haney and Carol Kimball have a real knack for entertaining country-western songs that aid in character development and advance the plot. The show’s first three numbers set up the story’s culture clashes so well–a new manager at the local food-processing plant, an awkward but lovable young urbanite, moves into the local trailer park–that the show’s creators could have dispensed with the book entirely and we wouldn’t have been any the wiser.
And therein lies the show’s fatal weakness. Dave Stratton’s book is a mess, at once anorectic and bloated–the script is so clotted with useless, silly, not very funny scenes that no coherent story ever emerges. Not even the excellent cast, adept at both comedy and singing and led by the feisty Laura Scott Wade, can keep this dead skunk from rotting in the middle of the road.