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Lucky Pink Wonderland

Fame is fleeting; infamy lasts forever. That thought plagues the main character in Amanda Duarte's new solo show, "Lucky Pink Wonderland," an actress who gave an unfortunately unforgettable performance as a cute little kid on a long-defunct sitcom.

With:
With: Amanda Duarte.

Fame is fleeting; infamy lasts forever. That thought plagues the main character in Amanda Duarte’s new solo show, “Lucky Pink Wonderland,” an actress who gave an unfortunately unforgettable performance as a cute little kid on a long-defunct sitcom. Duarte’s potshots at vacuous celebrities, sleazy wannabes and pathetic has-beens certainly hit their marks, even if those marks are pretty wide. For a culture that is already implants-deep in tabloid slime, “Lucky Pink Wonderland” is less of a warning than a premature autopsy. For all its tardiness, though, the show still manages to be very, very funny.

The actress, who has no given name except “Pinky Peppercorn” (her character from days gone by), isn’t the only character in this amusing horror story. There’s Tammie from the awful-sounding TV series “Don’t Even Eat That!” (“It’s on right after ‘Pimp My Mom,’ ” she explains), who has become famous for, well, eating things that nobody should ever eat.

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Then there’s the famous actor, Jennifer Jolie Nicole Ryan-Roberts, the embittered ex-wife of a closeted movie star, and the holy grail for Tammie and our heroine, neither of whom seem likely to rise to her level of fame anytime soon. They will probably both sink to similar depths of misery, though, as has the owner of the restaurant where Pinky works. She used to be an actress, too.

The best parts of this show are devoted to the indignities of acting: Pinky gets called in for auditions all the time, but it’s not because the producers want to examine her skill set — it’s because they want to hear her signature catchphrase (“Uh-oh! I’m in big trouble!“).

This girl’s story is so familiar, in fact, you could probably tell the whole thing in catchphrases, starting with “Live long and prosper” and ending up with “Book ’em, Danno.” She’s been an alcoholic and a drug addict since age 12 and her waitress gig is threatening to bring back both habits.

If this doesn’t sound particularly hilarious, it’s because describing the play’s structure strips it of the glib snark that makes much of it funny. Even writing it down makes these characters’ troubles seem less amusing and more depressing — it’s hard to leave the theater without feeling like a little bite has been taken out of your soul. There are worse ways to come by that feeling, of course — it’s already familiar to anybody who has watched the revolting video of Chris Crocker crying about Britney Spears (that’s used as one of Andrew Plourde’s projections for this show).

It’s hard to know what Duarte is trying to accomplish here. This is not an easy topic to write sympathetically about, since celeb culture is like flypaper for shallow people without enough to do.

Duarte suggests Pinky might have a little more substance than the average jealous has-been, but she doesn’t quite muster enough pathos to carry us through. She makes up for the shortfall with TMZ-style humor, which keeps the aud laughing but doesn’t really fill the void. People who agree with her will nod their heads, laugh at the gags (some of which are great) and head home. People trapped in the world “Wonderland” describes, however, are never going to believe that the show’s telling their story.

Lucky Pink Wonderland

The Pit; 50 seats; $8 top

Production: A People's Improv Theater presentation of a solo show in one act by Amanda Duarte. Directed by Jimmy Maize.

Creative: Costumes, Melissa Levin, Danny Mura; lighting, sound, video, Andrew Plourde; choreography, Ben Kerrick. Opened, reviewed Jan. 8, 2009. Running time: 55 MIN.

Cast: With: Amanda Duarte.

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