Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe
Honky Tonk Hissy Fit
Three years have passed, and the once tiny town of Doublewide has expanded to 17 trailers and a weekend farmers market. Familiar faces, brash, loud, and sassy but full of heart, reappear in glorious technicolor–a perfect antidote to the recent couple of trying pandemic years.
Big Ethel Satterwhite's (newcomer Elisa River Stacy) appearance and introductory monologue give us hints of our future theatrical reality–and her welcome to the Stairway to Heaven Retirement Village, known for its "Dialysis in Wonderland" treatment and an opportunity to vote for who the next lucky transplant recipient will be, leave us in no doubt about the bedlam to come.
We meet Georgia Dean (played once again by the delightful Margie Maes), the now proud owner of Bronco Betty's Buffeteria ("We heat it, you eat it"), and her almost step-daughter Lark, (newcomer DeAnna Gonzales), exhausted mother of a dynamo three-year-old daughter. Georgia, replete in cowboy boots, while conversing about a store named "Wide Bride" for larger ladies, seems resigned to spinsterhood, despite the serious and ongoing romantic advances of Nash Sloggett (Ruben Muller, also in a revived role) as personal superstitions cause her, creatively and hilariously, to avoid his multiple rheumatic-kneed proposals of marriage. Will his persistence pay off, or will he meet his maker sooner rather than later?
The Crumpler family are undesignated trailer park royalty–though, perhaps undesignated is not the right word. Caprice Crumpler (newcomer Diana Segara), the ostentatious, glittery, gaudy, and totally inappropriate mother of daughter Joveeta and son Baby, has delusions of grandeur because of her previous appearance in a television ad as a corpse for a local funeral parlor. With warnings not to "squat on her super model career," no-nonsense Joveeta (once again played by Lacey Bingham), now town mayor, has a difficult road reining her in. Finally, Baby (a returning Joel D. Miller) is such an obliging soul he can't say no. Not only is he the town's chief of police and fire marshal, he is also the town septic tank operator.
Cantankerous Haywood Sloggett (played once again by veteran actor Timothy Kupjack), our reformed anti-hero from Doublewide, Texas, has old-man hots for Caprice, while wiser heads fear his emotional downfall because of it. Harper Channing (Maria Theresa Herrera, newcomer in a new character's role), is secretly the Cruella of Texas Real Estate and our new villain.
The talented ensemble cast seem to relish the opportunity to shine in this sequel, and without exception they do. This script is not as outstanding as the first in the series; Baby Crumpler, played beautifully and riotously by Miller, is launched into the spotlight once again, yet the script doesn't give him the same "oomph" it did first time round. Mind you, Miller's Baby Crumpler was such a masterpiece in Doublewide, it may be impossible to match.
Joveeta has a much larger presence this time round, with Lacey Bingham affording her perfect comedic timing in Act 1. Her tendency to shout rather than say her lines in Act II detracts from her performance, but in Act she nails it.
This is a fun show with many hilarious scenes. The only flaw is the playwright's cramming too many vignettes into the play, not allowing some of the better scenes to fully blossom. An example–also one of the funniest things I've experienced in a long time–is Satterwhite's "Old McDonald" character-gathering of a fruit and vegetable chorus. It is a very innovative breaking of the fourth wall, and one which I wished had continued longer. There are other equally worthy moments, but you'll have to see the play yourself to enjoy them.
Though the overall set is good–I like the worn, dirty window blinds in Joveeta's home/town hall–the real issue and a huge oversight is why the beaded curtain exit in the Buffeteria is at a 90-degree angle. The place where a scene pivotal to the exposure of the evil ploy is invisible to everyone not sitting in the far stage-right seating bank. The entire rest of the audience is oblivious as to how the plot is discovered.
Costumes by Rhonda Backinoff, also costume designer for the original Doublewide, Texas, excel once again–I love the carrots, especially their fronts.
Honky Tonk Hissy Fit is a must see this season. It's light, fun-filled, and fun-loving, and a perfect pick-me-up for all ages. Go, laugh, enjoy–you will delight in it. I may even go again so I can enjoy the show without the responsibility of reviewing it.
Honky Tonk Hissy Fit runs through April 10, 2022, at The Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth St. NW, Albuquerque NM. Performances are Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. General admission is $20. Admission for seniors, students, and ATG members is $17. Proof of vaccination and masks are required at this time For tickets and information, please call 505-898-9222 or visit adobetheater.org.