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No Shirt, No Shoes, No Groundlings!

In two scenes in particular, sibling rivalry is mined to great effect. Steven Cragg and Michael McDonald are outstanding as two brothers who distill a lifetime of bickering into a confrontation at an airport passenger loading zone.

With:
Cast: Steven Cragg, John Crane, Robert Eschbacher, Ana Gasteyer, Mike Hitchcock, Sean Hogan, David Jahn, Holly Mandel, Michael McDonald, Brian Palermo, Mary Jo Smith, Chase Winton. Now in their 21st year, the Groundlings' latest work of 16 set pieces pretty much avoids society's woes, favoring character interaction over sociopolitical satire. Few of the scenes develop much past their exposition, but many of the performances of scripted and then improvisationally developed scenes are a hoot, as are the short, improvised sketches based on suggestions from the audience. On opening night, the skits were a good deal more successful than the improvs.

In two scenes in particular, sibling rivalry is mined to great effect. Steven Cragg and Michael McDonald are outstanding as two brothers who distill a lifetime of bickering into a confrontation at an airport passenger loading zone.

TX: TX:The Groundlings Theatre presents a comedy revue in two acts, directed by Melanie Graham. And John Crane is hilarious as a funeral attendee whose intense jealousy of his brother only becomes heightened at the burial of the sibling.

In a solo turn, Mike Hitchcock works the audience well as a hyperactive seminar guru who shares the secrets of making your child a star.

Other highlights include Cragg as a minimalist psychotherapist who solves all of patient Chase Winton’s hang-ups with two words; McDonald as the world’s most self-destructive job-seeker; Hitchcock and Mary Jo Smith as the ultimate Valley couple; David Jahn’s fastidious male stripper who gives the ladies much less than they paid for; and Hitchcock’s musical annihilation of a first date.

The troupe didn’t click on any of their four attempts. With director Melanie Graham taking suggestions from the audience, the improvised pieces were unimaginative in content and amateurish in execution.

The energy and excitement of the Groundlings’ efforts were aided by the musical duo of Willie Etra (keyboards, guitar) and percussionist Teddy Zambetti.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Groundlings!

Production: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Groundlings! (The Groundlings Theatre; 99 seats; $ 17. 50 top)

Crew: Set, Richard Hoover; musical director, Willie Etra; percussion, Teddy Zambetti. Opened, reviewed June 14, 1996; runs through Sept. 28. Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes.

With: Cast: Steven Cragg, John Crane, Robert Eschbacher, Ana Gasteyer, Mike Hitchcock, Sean Hogan, David Jahn, Holly Mandel, Michael McDonald, Brian Palermo, Mary Jo Smith, Chase Winton. Now in their 21st year, the Groundlings' latest work of 16 set pieces pretty much avoids society's woes, favoring character interaction over sociopolitical satire. Few of the scenes develop much past their exposition, but many of the performances of scripted and then improvisationally developed scenes are a hoot, as are the short, improvised sketches based on suggestions from the audience. On opening night, the skits were a good deal more successful than the improvs.

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