Something scaly is stalking the Black Lake Golf Course in Nipomo.
There are creepy claw marks near the sand trap, flippered footprints leading into the water hazard. And a hapless golfer just spotted a mysterious creature lurking around the 13th hole.
Just in time for Halloween, it’s “Trudy and the Beast.”
The Great American Melodrama’s latest production combines elements of “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
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Written by Artistic Director Eric Hoit and Musical Director Jordan Richardson, “Trudy and the Beast” comes on the heels of a string of spooky spoofs — including “Drac in the Saddle Again,” “Mummy Dearest” and “Scary Poppins.”
Like its predecessors, the play boasts a familiar storyline, hummable musical numbers and plenty of pop culture references, creating family-friendly comedy that’s a hit on and off the course.
Man and creature
“Trudy and the Beast” opens on a bucolic scene — a pretty young golfer practicing her swing in the autumn sunshine. Trudy (Katie Worley) exults in a true “The Sound of Music” moment: “The links are alive, with the sound of golfing.”
Trudy’s best friend, Minnie (Melodrama newcomer Leah Kolb), is a dimwitted Southern sexpot who’d rather spend her time sipping cocktails at the country club than playing the links. But when conceited stud Gerard (Chuck McLane) shows up with his number-crunching nerd of a caddy, Felix (Daniel J. Self, another newcomer), her interest is piqued.
Gerard, alas, has his sights set on the decidedly uninterested Trudy. He’s also got a less romantic goal in mind—murdering the hideous monster that haunts the 13th hole of the Black Lake Golf Course. “We’ve got to kill that thing before it attacks again!” Gerard exclaims.
Meanwhile, back in his dripping cavern, the Creature (Andrew Beck) is in an emotional funk.
“It’s hard for people to see me as anything other than a hideous creature,” the mopey monster moans.
You see, the Creature was once a talented pro golfer.
When the Goddess of Golf caught him cheating at the 13th hole, she transformed him into a frightening-looking fish-man clad in a yellow polo shirt and pressed khaki slacks.
Cartsworth (Billy Breed), his caddy, turned into a white golf cart, and his Scottish agent, Mrs. Putts (Bree Murphy), became a pink plaid golf bag. (Costume designer Jim Tanner scores a hole in one with his imaginative outfits.)
In order to break the curse and return everyone to their original forms, the Creature must find true love. Could Trudy be the answer?
Soon, Trudy finds herself torn between a human hunk and the scaly green guy of her dreams.
Although the play’s golf-centric gags and up-to-the-minute references to Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan and “Twilight” occasionally fall flat, “Trudy and the Beast” plays to the company’s strengths: character-driven comedy, exuberant song-and-dance numbers and broad physical humor.
One scene in particular, when the Creature shows Trudy how to “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” oozes with “Tin Cup” charisma. And the Creature’s pensive plea to find happiness “Out on the Green” — channeling “Little Shop of Horrors” — is priceless.
A monstrous revue
“Trudy and the Beast” is followed by a Halloween-themed edition of the Melodrama’s vaudeville revue set in a moonlit graveyard.
Murphy, dressed as a decaying flapper, welcomes the audience to a zombie party complete with “ladyfingers and pickled kids’ feet.”
Kolb belts out a clever spoof of the ’90s hit “Barbie Girl,” describing a once-living girl betrayed by her zombie beau. “That boy is rotten,” she sings, a real “bite ’em and leave ’em” kind of guy.”
Self makes a plea for zombie rights, and Murphy delivers a stirring version of “You and the Night and the Music.”
But the revue’s funniest moments belong to McLane, who picks up an acoustic guitar to cover Jonathan Coulton’s “Re: Your Brains” and joins Beck and Breed for a hip-hop number about the recent zombie movie craze.