This production was scheduled September 15-November 11, 2023.

Who could love a creature from the Blacklake lagoon? Well, everyone in San Luis Obispo County should give it a try—joining the title character from The Great American Melodrama’s most recent parody, Trudy & the Beast.

Trudy is a beauty on the golf course, and this version of the “tale as old as time” has her falling for the half-man, half-fish creature (a delightful Cameron Parker) from the first time she encounters him on the 13th hole at Blacklack golf resort. From the opening scene, Trudy (a winning Bianca Jeanette, new to the Melodrama stage) sets the audience up for many a melodic spoof to come with her knock-off of “The Sound of Music,” not surprisingly singing the praises of putting greens instead of hills and brooks.

And so it goes, as you would expect from the inventive minds of Melodrama creatives Eric Hoit and Jordan Richardson, who mine the sport for every joke you can think of. They also give Disney its due, especially in the form of the creature’s animated friends, Cartsworth (the talented Mike Fiore as a golf cart) and Mrs. Putts (the always reliable Meggie Siegrist as a golf bag in “so last year’s plaid,” who brings it all home with her second-act version of “A Tale As Old As Time”). Of course—and to the delight of the audience—local references also abound; could Diablo Canyon figure into the creature’s origins?

We all know, however, that a monster like this beast can only be saved by the love of a good woman, and getting to that realization is of course the fun of the evening. It’s the Melodrama, after all, so we need a bad guy (snobby golf pro Gerard, played to a tee—sorry—by another Melodrama newcomer, Samuel Quinzon), some good-natured pals (Gerard’s caddy Felix, played by a genial Kelly Brown, and Trudy’s friend Minnie, solidly played by Carley Herlihy), and stalwart behind-the-scenes crew members, including director Keenon Hooks, production manager Trinity Smith, and stage manager Julie Ewert, who keep things moving along.

Musical director Camille Villalpanda-Rolla ably accompanies the proceedings, deserving to share the spotlight with the actors at the end of the evening. Renee VanNeil’s costume design and the scenic design by Ian Peggs are of special note, with both adding dashes of whimsey and delight to the production.

If you like musical send-ups—think “The Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, and a big finale of “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease, among many others—you can’t go wrong with Trudy & the Beast.

And stick around for the “Monster Mash Vaudeville Review.” Director Mike Fiore and choreographer Sydni Ramirez prolong the fun and spooky theme of the evening, sending you home humming “We Are Family” truly in the spirit of the Halloween season.

:: Charlotte Alexander