There is cheap-shot debauchery galore but little humor in this tale of the strange goings-on within the breakfast-food empire of Ivory Towers (Claiborne Cary) and her warring offspring: Essence (Robin Polk), Saliva (Amy Scribner) and Phallic (Jason Kordelos). Along the way, King attempts to skewer the denizens of our contemporary pop culture with rapid-fire asides that always aim for the lowest common denominator.

There is cheap-shot debauchery galore but little humor in this tale of the strange goings-on within the breakfast-food empire of Ivory Towers (Claiborne Cary) and her warring offspring: Essence (Robin Polk), Saliva (Amy Scribner) and Phallic (Jason Kordelos). Along the way, King attempts to skewer the denizens of our contemporary pop culture with rapid-fire asides that always aim for the lowest common denominator.

TX: TX:KingPin Prods. and the Hudson Theatre Group in association with Broadway Video present a play in one act written and directed by Scott King. Producers, Gary Blumsack, Elizabeth Reilly. Sets and costumes, Tony Villanueva; sound, Scott King, Gary Michael Mattison; original live TX:Episode one finds the angelic but sex-starved Essence (played with adept comic timing by Polk) preparing for her wedding to the low-life hunk Iron Lung (Jay Huguley), while trying to outwit her evil sister Saliva for control of the family dynasty. Played with rabid, over-the-top ferocity by Scribner, Saliva connives to steal Essence’s fiance and the cereal empire.

Meanwhile, the rest of the ensemble chews up the scenery in an exuberant effort to out-degrade one another. Former “Dallas” regular Charlene Tilton is an eye-popping sight as the leather-and-whip-clad maid Goethe. Unfortunately, her grating German accent and constant dominatrix- and bondage-tinged dialogue are more wearisome than witty. Ex-“Brady Bunch” teen Eve Plumb, however, offers a believable portrayal as the catatonically repressed children’s nurse Nanna Cherry.

TX:Interestingly, one of the most effective performances resulted in one of the more tasteless scenes. Marianne Curan is dead-on as the diva of lifestyle Martha Stewart. Curan adroitly demonstrates how to insert razors in an apple and then passes on this treat to an unsuspecting L’il Annie (Joy Ray). As blood spurts from Annie’s mouth, Curan intones benignly, “It’s a good thing.”

TX:Announcer Nathan Smith and warm-up host Jill Whelan assured the audience that the continuing adventures of the Towers family are forthcoming.

Cereal!

Production

Cereal! (The Hudson Theatre; 75 seats; $ 10 top)

Crew

Music, Mattison. Opened, reviewed Jan. 19, 1996; runs through Feb. 24. Running time: 1 hour.

With

Cast: Claiborne Cary (Ivory Towers), Marianne Curan (Martha Stewart), Victoria Fisher (Dr. Molly Cuddles), Danny Gonzales (Candy Dish), Leslie Grossman (90210), Jay Huguley (Iron Lung), Jason Kordelos (Fallic Towers), Eve Plumb (Nanna Cherry), Robin Polk (Essence Towers), Will Potter (Gordon), Richard Rawstone (Carlton), Joy Ray (L'il Annie), Amy Scribner (Saliva Towers), Nathan Smith (Announcer), Charlene Tilton (Goethe), Karri Turner (Sesame Street), Jason Waters (Martyr VonFrusengladje), Jill Whelan (Warm-Up Gal). This episodic spoof of such nighttime soap opera fare as "Dallas" and "Dynasty" is as creative as the flushing of a commode and strives for the same aesthetic goal. Writer-director Scott King has assembled a talented, hard-working ensemble and has guided them through the gamut of subhuman behavior.
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