Catfish, Guns and Corndogs is a silly camp celebration of the worst sort of trailer trash. As such, it revels in bad clothes, worse hair, unimaginable food, plastic, and polyester. There's even a feud. What more can you ask for in an evening's entertainment? It tells the story of competing clans of oddballs: one led by matriarch Jeweldean Hiney (Debra Kay Anderson) who considers herself a cut above the other contenders for queen of the trailer park and will stop at nothing to consolidate her family's position. They give her problems -- what white-trash family wouldn't? -- what with her big-haired daughter-in-law (Cole James), whose behavior doesn't always go with the family's pretensions, a frumpy granddaughter (Janet Hoskins) who is an example of ``trailer park intelligentsia,'' and the trailer park stud (or is he?) (Roy Havrilack). The other side of the feud is represented by smug and envious Devonne Waddell (Jon Konior). Her family includes a slob of a grandfather who has multiple (female) personalities (Stephen Bomango), the slut of the park (the wonderfully over-the-top Margot Foley) and a very weird son (James Gerber). The plot doesn't really matter -- it involves lust, a Tupperware party as a route to mainstream acceptance, a shooting, voyeurism, and scads of scandals and conspiracy theories. Author Stacey Bean has written a broad farce with some enjoyably surreal elements, a love story, and a hearty helping of southern spice.
The production at the Duplex (it is now at Grove Street) had little set, a few well-chosen props, and absolutely blinding costumes. Two of the main female characters were strappingly unapologetic drag queens, and the women who played the other female roles were not far behind in outrageousness. Foley, as the sexpot daughter, must have been tutored by a queen. In the less flamboyant roles, the narrator, a butch female sheriff, was played to the confrontational hilt by Vicki Gantz. Jason Madera gave the requisitely lascivious preacher a slippery reality, and the high-school jock was played with blank sweetness by David B. Marsh. By definition, this kind of production seems to have frequent cast changes, but undoubtedly the current cast is as shamelessly entertaining as was the earlier one. Direction and staging was chaotic, noisy fun, quick-paced, non-stop, and not exactly subtle.
Copyright 1996 Maya T. Amis
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