Perilous!: Penelope Peril vs. The Holiday Orgasm

Like defensive friends who must have the last word, on Opening Night, this comedy’s producers and announcer (Tyler Tanner) seemed defiantly proud of its mere two days of rehearsal. As it only runs for four performances, expectations can remain low for its second and last weekend. That’s almost a winning strategy for an erotic Yuletide slapstick that was never intended to be good. Rather, this hyper yarn about a born-again virgin named Wendy Wallflower (Elizabeth Dement) — whose alter-identity superhero, Penelope Peril, must save her town from a Christmas Eve contagion that’s turned everyone from the mayor (Bob Brunson) to her dweeby boyfriend, Phil (Fuz), into a sexual predator — is a stocking overstuffed with bad puns, furious dry humping and softcore lesbian incest. Though the jokes are adamantly outrageous, they’re also entirely predictable. The four writers (Taylor Ashbrook, Jeff Folschinsky, Tanner and Dement) never hit full-throttle lunacy, sticking instead to the more common turf of bawdy acronyms — such as the Criminal United Municipal Services. Though the show almost wants to be a train wreck, Dement’s hot pants–clad savior is so gosh-darned wide-eyed and earnest that her performance helps Ashbrook’s direction hold it together. (That she’s the spitting image of Carrie Fisher is a bonus.) Also strong are Laura Lee Bahr as Penelope’s lusty sister; and Fuz, who lisps and sputters as the hapless geek, only to make a convincing about-face as Philandro, the Christmas Bandito of Love, merely by slapping on a mustache. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through Dec. 12. (818) 508-3003.
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 6, 10 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Starts: Dec. 5. Continues through Dec. 12, 2008


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