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Stage Reviews : FRINGE FESTIVAL : 'CONNIE LANDAU': WORLD'S WORST ENTERTAINER

September 04, 1987|ROBERT KOEHLER

Imagine that you're stuck in Reno, holed up at the Ramada Inn, with nothing to do. You wander down to the Twilight Room. A Liberace-trained pianist tickles the keyboard, the lights dim and out comes . . . Connie Landau, the worst entertainer in the whole wide world.

With "Connie Landau: My Dream Come True," writer-director David Marsh has concocted something mighty weird at the Olio. It instantly projects a disturbed tackiness, as Connie (Tina Chappel) stumbles through a desperate version of--what else?--"Fame," abetted by a drum machine. She's going for her umpteenth comeback in Hollywood, and already things aren't going well.

We know Connie's "Prime Time Entertainment Special" will unravel, but Marsh (who comes on in various guises as creepy guests) doesn't push the show to its logical extremes of dark satire.

It all comes dangerously close to being as shopworn as Landau's shtick and not nearly assured enough to find some metaphor in Connie's existence.

It takes a great deal of talent to knock the untalented and get away with it, but neither Chappel nor Marsh are at that level.

Performances at 3709 Sunset Blvd. on Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m., through Sept. 30. Tickets: $8.50; (213) 667-9556.

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