radio
From left: Lydia Mattera, Kim Alessandro, Sarah Quintiliani, Kimmi Roche, Anne Faiella, Emily Lamarre, Delaney Sparks, Heather Carey, and Elizbeth Parent. Center: Karen Bessette DiOrio. (submitted)

ATTLEBORO -With its current production, Attleboro Community Theatre takes us on an early spring break to the Manufactured Home Oasis and Monkey Emporium in Luna Del Mar, Fla., where there are no monkeys (unless you count the tech crew cleverly decked out with monkey hats).

"Radio T.B.S.", written by Mark Landon Smith, chronicles the madcap comings and goings in a small mobile home community rife with gossip and laughter.

It opens with radio hosts Vesta Poteet (played by Karen Bessette DiOrio) and Dixie Mandrall (Elizabeth Parent) reporting on community news including the upcoming drive-by Nativity, which will include a tribute to "the King," Elvis Presley.

Yes, Luna Del Mar residents are Elvis fans and some may be fanatics, as roving reporter Missy Goode (Heather Carey) reports from Graceland with her precocious grand-baby, Opal.

Church lady Mary Eunice Wheaton (Anne Faiella) takes to the airwaves to expound on the heathen ways of belly dancer Imogene Hurst (Delaney Sparks) and tries to round up support to have her evicted from the trailer park.

And park resident Alveet McClay (Lydia M. Mattera) gives us an update on the Miss Manatee pageant while advertising her charm school. Due to a new ruling, there is only one pageant contestant, the unwilling Mayola Felts (Emily Lamarre) who is forced to enter by her mother Pauline (Kim Allessandro).

Another guest to the morning show is Harlene Akers (Sarah Quntilliani) with the weather report. The subtle humor in Quntlliani's delivery brings some early laughs to the show.

Kimmi Roche is a natural in the role of Madge Huskey, who hosts an open house for her annual Elvis display. Roche brings laughs whether she is boisterously airing marital problems to Dixie or doing her best impersonation of Elvis for the drive-by Nativity.

Director Christine Lee deserves kudos for assembling a cast of talented group of women to fill the variety of characters for the all-female ensemble.

The banter between DiOri and Mandrall as radio hosts is clever and humorous, accentuated by their expressive gestures, though there were some pacing issues in the first scene.

As the roving reporter, Carey delivers a very humorous monologue in the opening act and shines again in the second as she explains how she ended up in jail after visiting Graceland.

Faiella embodies the "holier than thou" church lady to the point where the audience laughs but also hates the character just a little for her hypocritical judging.

As the pageant contestant, Lamarre is a scene-stealer as she nonchalantly consumes food, her one and only hobby. And Alessandro is appropriately exasperated as the parent of an overweight teenager.

Riotous laughter comes in the second act as all the players, except Carey, prepare for the Nativity. Each try to outdo the other as car headlights stream across the stage, courtesy of ACT resident lighting designer Doug Greene. Alessandro also gets a good laugh with her delivery of the word "myrrh."

There is one dramatic moment in the play as Imogene the belly dancer enters to take on the role of the shepherd, much to the chagrin some of the other characters, especially the church lady. As Imogene, Sparks handles the scene well, and Quintiliani, the weather lady, brings poignancy to the moment.

But overall, "Radio T.B.S." (Trailer Park Broadcasting Scandals) is a lighthearted affair. And if that's what you're up for, grab your flip-flops and go see it.

***

Attleboro Community Theatre's production of "Radio T.B.S." is onstage weekends through March 6 at the Bates Masonic Lodge, 71 North Main St., Attleboro. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: 508-226-8100, attleborocommunitytheatre.com.

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