"Enter Laughing" at Orange Coast College tries very hard to be funny, and it sometimes succeeds in a rather broad, uncomplicated way.
Director John Ferzacca approaches Joseph Stein's stage adaptation of Carl Reiner's reminiscence of his early adventures in the theater much as if they had been told in a comic strip, with the kind of one-dimensional characterizations and simple backdrops you would expect on the funnies page.
David Kolowitz is a nice Jewish boy who has been bitten by the acting bug, much to the chagrin of his parents and to the fifth-rate theater troupe that casts him in his first role. Here, the many colorful characters that David meets are rendered with little shading. Thus, the broader moments of the play work beautifully, but the softer ones are all but lost.
As David, Mark Salamon is charming but shows little of the chutzpah that must motivate the young man. David Scaglione and Michael D. Todd both use a pleasing dry wit as David's father and the owner of the sewing machine company where David is trying to keep his job. Best of all is Bryan Burnes as the troupe's hammy actor/manager. Burnes' long-suffering grimaces and self-mocking affectations make it clear that the character is fooling no one, least of all himself.
David Scaglione's cut-out set (and props) are eye-catching and suit the mood perfectly.
"Enter Laughing" continues through Sunday at Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa. For information, call (714) 432-5880.