One of the more surreal aspects about last week for me was seeing Kimberly Jones Clark at the Science Museum on Thursday and then at the Firehouse on Friday. As the proper and articulate 19th century wife (and cousin!) of Charles Darwin, Jones was decked out in a plain, conservative frock with a tidy haircut. As the stripper-on-the run in “Trailer Park,” she wore a garish blonde wig and a skimpy skirt – oh, and there were those pasties, of course.
It was fun to see such a significant range in characters portrayed by one actress in such close proximity. But while it was cool that Ms. Jones could pull off such dramatic differences so well, it was even more intriguing to pick out the similarities in the portrayals. Both women were smart, insightful and surprisingly supportive of the men in their lives. Jones infused both with an admirable pluckiness, the kind of backbone that shows some kind of innate strength. With that kind of similarity between two desperate roles, it’s hard to imagine that this isn’t an aspect of Jones’s own character.
There was a lot to laugh at in “Trailer Park” but I have to be honest and say that I was ready for it to be over well before it was done. I have really enjoyed everything I’ve seen Chris Hester in before but his character here did nothing for me. I didn’t believe in him for a second. Afterwards, I thought back to Dennis Hopper’s Frank in the movie “Blue Velvet,” a similarly unhinged (though exceedingly more threatening) character. He was just as extreme as Duke but I believed in Frank – and feared him. But by the reaction of the crowd during the second act, though, mine was a minority opinion. Oh well, can’t argue with the masses.
I went back and reread Ms. Haubenstock’s review and have to say that I agree with most everything she had to say. There is a lot of leeway I can give a production based on charm alone but after too many scenes where people aren’t lit or songs where lyrics are unintelligible, I lose patience. As Randy would say, I’m just keeping it real, dawg.
But in the spirit of also keeping it positive (thanks for the nice comment, Anonymous!) I’ll finish up by saying that the “white trash chorus” – Nancy McMahon, Durron Tyre, Aly Wepplo – was consistently entertaining. Even though the weird revelation of “Lin” at the play’s end was an incomplete and clumsy misfire, these “girls” provided the spice that made this otherwise unappetizing entrée palatable.
Next up (at least in this space): “Altar Boyz.”