““Trailer Trash” is a heartfelt and liberating play of the upmost significance, it’s a symbolic representation of human struggles that deserve to be heard”
Feelings of love, acceptance and hope arise after witnessing the poignant theatrical masterpiece ‘Trailer Trash’ produced by Perception Theatre Company. This dark comedy explores the nuanced themes of sexual exploitation, gender dysphoria and domestic violence through a captivating and emotive lens.
The beautiful direction from Maddie Hurley is apparent throughout, the focus on providing a thought-provoking yet subtle exploration of many forms of abuse never loses the audience’s attention, many of the directorial choices aid a comfortable space for the actors to use humour to ease the heavy content of the script. The most impressive quality of the play lies in the contrasting vulnerabilities presented by both characters, Shayanne (Alexa Thanni), a seemingly feisty yet naïve women represents the twisted nature of sex work in a misogynistic culture, that only values her body, yet she believes she can regain the power once taken from her. Whereas Frances (Georgia Malkin) is labelled as an outcast by the ultra-religious society, for wanting to live an authentic life as a male, who was born female. Both characters aid each other through the struggles they encounter, the gut-renching discrimination seen throughout their lives, is a mere reflection of the real-life difficulties faced by some groups in modern society, the examination of transphobia, classicism and racism shines light upon the unappreciated voices that must be heard. The gritty, yet humorous writing by Mike Elliston should be commended for constructing such a progressive and empowering script, that contains all the crucial elements of dark comedy, while never downplaying the struggles of oppressed minorities. This type of theatrical representation sends a clear message of aspiration for a more inclusive society, not enough credit can be given to the whole cast and crew for highlighting such important experiences that deserve to be recognised.
Major kudos should be given to the set designer (Carrie Cheung) for creating a homely, yet expressive atmosphere which was reflected in the props of coffee cups, high heels, and canes, through bringing a sense of normality, which built an engaging and often interactive relationship between the audience and characters. At times, the background music felt misplaced, as it occasionally shifted the direction of the scene, however this was often rectified through the professionalism of the actors who used the symbolic props to drive the plot forward. In regards to the lighting, the simplistic approach of using a small collection of colours from white to blue, actually enhanced the authenticity of each acting choice. Specifically, the connection of each monologue utilising the same blue light, created a consistent environment of intimacy and trust, which this play is founded upon. Likewise, the costumes and makeup of each character felt incredibly realistic and worked exceptionally well with the seamless transition of multi-rolling between different characters, without the efforts of the talented production team (Sam Wong and Eleanora Ashbrooke) these features could have become confusing.
Without doubt the standouts of the production rest with the astonishing pair, Alexa Thanni and Georgia Malkin. Both actors showed an incredible stamina that left me speechless, their impeccable comedic timing and captivating facial expressions, took the audience on an incredibly emotional journey. Malkin as Frances took a humble and skilful approach of nuance and originality, through adopting a perfect tone and pace of voice which engrossed the audience to feel the pain that Frances faced. The witty yet introspective choices seen through Malkin’s performance captured the feelings of insecurity and vulnerability which the script yearns for, likewise the moments of silence and physical theatre were powerful in displaying the challenges of transphobia. Similarly, Alexa Thanni’s portrayal of Shayanne, brought a bundle of energy and enthusiasm which provided a compelling and entertaining contrast to Frances. The precision of her accent, physicality and energy was second to none, and without her bubbly and endearing interpretation the play would have felt heavy. The most enjoyable moment was witnessing how both actors solidified a unity of friendship in the most unexpected and delightful way, both actors should feel an immense sense of pride for bringing such creative vision to life.
Overall, “Trailer Trash” is a heartfelt and liberating play of the upmost significance, it’s a symbolic representation of human struggles that deserve to be heard. The production is fundraising for ‘NUM’ and ‘Mermaids’, organisations which are closely related to the themes of the show, and you can show support through donations at the show.
By Niamh Williams
Photo Credits: Perception Theatre Company