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The Beachwood Palace Jubilee

Director M.D. Sweeney carries the lion's share of the responsibility for the evening's pedestrian nature. By permitting his performers to repeatedly throttle the audience with each one-joke scene long after the horse is in the Elmer's bottle, any honest humor that might have arisen is dead on arrival.

Director M.D. Sweeney carries the lion’s share of the responsibility for the evening’s pedestrian nature. By permitting his performers to repeatedly throttle the audience with each one-joke scene long after the horse is in the Elmer’s bottle, any honest humor that might have arisen is dead on arrival.

Affable Barry Saltzman serves as the comic master of ceremonies, easily tossing out one-liners, and singing slightly under pitch (as do all the vocalists, though at times it is intentional). Musicians Jonathan Green and Chris Malmin provide instrumental flair as they attempt to salvage the musical numbers from the singers’ approximately correct tones.

Some of the funnier acts include Michael Naughton and Matt Taylor as a pair of out-of-control basketball “dudes,” and the supremely talented Naughton portraying an actor, recently graduated from an eight-year program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, sharing his favorite audition pieces. His melodramatics and almost gymnastic physical control make for a hilarious episode.

Another standout, Benjamin Livingston, brings down the house with his tone-poem, “Blood on the Hills,” which is little more than an ode to a dead squirrel.

Still, in each of these more successful instances, the sketch continued too long, thereby killing the humor — great shades of “Saturday Night Live’s” weaker moments. You can imagine what the unfunny scenes are like.

The Beachwood Palace Jubilee

(Acme Comedy Theatre, Hollywood; 90 seats, $ 5. 99 top)

  • Production: M.D. Sweeney and Barry Saltzman in association with Acme Comedy Theatre and Ademola Prods. present an evening of sketch humor in one act; director, M.D. Sweeney. Opened May 6, 1995; reviewed July 1; runs indefinitely. Running time: 75 min. #Cast: Brett Baer, Erin Ehrlich, David Finkel, Kate Flannery, Kathy Jensen, Jamie Kaler, Benjamin Livingston, Michael Naughton, Antoinette Spolar, Matt Taylor, Phil Van Tee. Imagine the announcer/guest artist format used at most comedy clubs blended with vaudeville reminiscent of "The Hollywood Palace," and you'll have a fair idea of what antics to expect at the Acme Comedy Theatre's late-night Saturday show. Though at times the performers show comic potential, these moments aren't sustained throughout the sketches. This lack of staying power, coupled with only mildly witty writing and a tired, overdone concept, seem more like a new act tryout than a solid comedy presentation. This fly-by-night lack of polish is likely exacerbated by the fact that the bill of fare changes weekly. Granted, this will keep the show fresh, but at the same time it disallows any fine-edged tuning of the acts.
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