Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Theater review: 'Completely Hollywood' gives its actors plenty of room for laughs

Christian Rockwell,‭ ‬Erik Fabregat and Antonio Amadeo
in Completely Hollywood‭ (‬Abridged‭)‬.

By Hap Erstein

Twenty-three years ago,‭ ‬three‭ ‬irreverent wags devised a breakneck evening of comedy,‭ ‬The Compleat Wrks of Wlm Shkspr‭ (‬Abridged‭)‬,‭ ‬which mercilessly spoofed the timeless works of the Bard yet‭ ‬--‭ ‬here’s the inspired part‭ ‬--‭ ‬required almost no knowledge of his plays and characters.

No wonder it became an international hit,‭ ‬spawning subsequent giggle fests about the Bible,‭ ‬American history and sports,‭ ‬all from a madcap collective dubbed the Reduced Shakespeare Company.‭ ‬Current members Reed Martin,‭ ‬Austin Tichenor and Dominic Conti have gone to that well again,‭ ‬setting their sights on the lunacy of Tinseltown.‭ ‬The result is an evening of shameless silliness known as‭ ‬Completely Hollywood‭ (‬Abridged‭)‬.‭

Brought to the area by Plantation’s Mosaic Theatre,‭ ‬which has made its reputation on more serious material,‭ ‬the company demonstrates that it can deliver manic wackiness as well as the dour stuff.‭ ‬And broad comedy is probably just what audiences are hungering for about now.‭

Like the other RSC shows,‭ ‬Completely Hollywood packs more wincing one-liners and groan-worthy puns per minute than imaginable.‭ ‬There are some clever minds at work here,‭ ‬but one could easily see the jokes fizzling without a trio of verbally and physically nimble performers.‭ ‬Fortunately,‭ ‬Mosaic director Richard Jay Simon has them in Erik Fabregat,‭ ‬Antonio Amadeo and Christian Rockwell,‭ ‬frequently seen here,‭ ‬but never given quite as much free rein to cavort,‭ ‬mug and pander for laughs as they are here.

On the theory that any joke is funnier if delivered in women’s clothing and a high,‭ ‬squeaky voice,‭ ‬these three do not hesitate to don skirts and wigs.‭ ‬Some gags still lay there like a lox,‭ ‬but it does suggest the lengths they will go to for a giggle.‭ ‬Each has‭ ‬plenty of solo standout moments,‭ ‬notably Amadeo’s verbal diarrhea spurts,‭ ‬Fabregat’s Dorothy Gale and Rockwell’s sly impersonation of Oscar winner Al Gore.

As was the case with the‭ ‬Wlm Shkspr‭ ‬show,‭ ‬which sprinted through all‭ ‬37‭ ‬of Will’s plays,‭ ‬however briefly,‭ ‬the Mosaic cast boasts up front that it will deal with‭ ‬197‭ ‬of the greatest movies of all time.‭ ‬And perhaps they do,‭ ‬at least through name-dropping or invoking a stray iconic line of dialogue,‭ ‬but chances you will be too busy laughing to keep a running count.

For the audience’s education,‭ ‬the guys also slip in a dozen pithy rules of the movie industry.‭ ‬Like‭ “‬Show it,‭ ‬don’t say it,‭” ‬and‭ “‬There are only two movie plots:‭ ‬coming-of-age and fish-out-of-water.‭” ‬Best was the notion that every movie is a combination of two other movies,‭ ‬illustrated by the unlikely merger of Akira Kurosawa and Walt Disney to produce‭ ‬Snow White and the Seven Samurai.‭ ‬Or the intersection of Jane Austen and Drew Barrymore vehicles,‭ ‬producing‭ ‬Darcy’s Angels.

If anything,‭ ‬Completely Hollywood overstays its welcome a bit and is padded with some audience participation skits,‭ ‬in which a few game volunteers get immersed in the onstage shenanigans.‭ ‬No doubt some people find this amusing,‭ ‬but it smacks of filler.

Douglas Grinn contributes a simple,‭ ‬but attractive scenic design of film-strip silhouettes of recognizable Hollywood characters,‭ ‬from Rocky Balboa to E.T.‭ ‬And do not miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars celebrating Fabregat,‭ ‬Amadeo and Rockwell on the floor in front of the stage.‭ ‬Nice touch.

Completely Hollywood is not for those who want trenchant drama or even tidy comedy.‭ ‬But everyone else is likely to have a very entertaining time.

COMPLETELY HOLLYWOOD‭ (‬ABRIDGED‭)‬,‭ ‬Mosaic Theatre,‭ ‬12200‭ ‬W.‭ ‬Broward Blvd.,‭ ‬Plantation.‭ ‬Continuing through Oct.‭ ‬3.‭ ‬Tickets:‭ ‬$37.‭ ‬Call:‭ (‬954‭) ‬577-8243.

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