One On The Aisle

By Pamela C. Allen

by John Culbertson

Friday night I went to the Maverick Players Theater ready to be insulted by lame jokes and nasty generalizations about trailer park people and Catholicism -- both of which I am -- due to the nature of this play. Yes, I was ready to thump someone on the head, but I was pleasantly surprised.

John Culbertson has written a hilarious play about the foibles in the human condition. The characters live in the "nicest trailer park" in Elroy, South Carolina, in this case an oxymoron. The set is the Hightower trailer complete with old tires on the roof and a refrigerator on the porch because it won't fit in the door.
Lou Ann Highower is played by Melissa Hirsch. At first I thought Lou Ann had a bad case of PMS. But she is just having a bad life and needs something to believe in because she is married to Dwayne -- Brad Connery -- a dreamer with too many get-rich-quick schemes. Their accents are perfect as are the attitudes and costumes. In spite of everything, this couple grows and get a little of what they had when they were first married.
Connery is good at giving the audience the dreamer/schemer attitude. He sometimes dreams too big and can't handle what he has wrought, and sometimes his character is dumber than dirt!

Lou Ann's best friend Betsy Grigsby is played by Cindy Oglesby, who all but steals this show! Ms. Oglesby is bigger than life when she plays this type of character. Remember her in GARGOYLES AND SCARECROW SINS? There is an underlying native intelligence in these women, and Ms. Oglesby does right by her characters.

The ladies see what they think is the face of Jesus Christ on the door of the refrigerator. Dwayne thinks it looks more like Willie Nelson. He thinks it's a good way to make money.

You know this will bring out all the crazies, and it does, including an extremely conservative Baptist pastor with his own agenda. Louis Gibbs plays the Reverend Cecil Hodges.
These people -- the whole group -- are fugitives from the Jerry Springer Show.
Is this the face of Jesus or Willie Nelson? Only God knows, and he does a walk through near the end as The Stranger, played by Max Howard.
There is humor, religion, ignorance and lots of laughter. You might have seen their life stories in any tabloid.
MESSIAH ON THE FRIGIDAIRE plays until Nov. 6. Call the box office at 522-5225 for your reservations. It's a good laugh!

Pamela C. Allen, a member of the Midland Reporter-Telegram staff for mroe than 18 years, has been involved in all aspects of live theater for many years. She can be reached at pa@mrt.com.