Groundlings Special Lady Friend

Although this mainstage show from the comedy troupe long known as the feeder team for TV hits like Saturday Night Live and MadTV lacks some of the ferocious energy and imaginative edge of several of the company's previous endeavors, the genial collection of comic skits delivers what it promises: an evening of daffy, enjoyable fun. In "Special Delivery", a group of customers at the post office watch helplessly as a mailman (Damon Jones) cheerfully smashes and drop kicks their packages. And in "Hot For Teacher," a new substitute teacher (Lisa Schurga) is reduced to desperate means to fend off a junior high school student (Jim Cashman) who has a crush on her. Although a few sketches - such as the awkward and cringe-inducing audience-suggested improvs - get the better of the cast, director Mitch Silpa's production retains the crisp comic timing and assured ensemble work that maintains the group's sterling comic reputation. Of the cast, standouts include the brilliantly varied turns offered by Jim Rash, who deftly morphs from solemn straight man to gibbering loon, often within the same sketch, and also Jim Cashman, who plays hysterical anger with a comic fury that resembles a male Lucille Ball on crack. Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood; indef.
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 & 10 p.m. Starts: Jan. 2. Continues through Feb. 7, 2009


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