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THEATER REVIEW 'CLUMSY CUSTARD' : A Rocky Parody : The Moorpark Melodrama's show combines gags, slapstick and strong pop music performances.


After a somewhat disappointing production, "Tied to the Tracks," the spell-weavers of the Magnificent Moorpark Melodrama & Vaudeville Co. are back at full strength with "The Clumsy Custard Horror Show."

The show is touted as an amalgam of "The Rocky Horror Show," the "Star Wars" trilogy and "Cinderella." The production (from a stock script by William Gleason and adapted for the company by director Scott Martin) borrows elements from each, "Rocky" least of all. Essentially, the story is a framework for lots of gags and music, genre parodies and slapstick from an energetic, attractive young cast--in short, a typical Moorpark Melodrama production.

Dashing Swashbuck Valpariso sets out to win the hand of Princess Prince, incurring the wrath of villains Malforce and Dacron, whose eyes are more for the princess's inheritance than for the girl herself. And those names are representative of the show's degree of subtlety.

Kevin-Anthony, who stars as Valpariso, recently won three of the Melodrama's Lindy awards. Here he gets to sing, dance and buckle his swash with equal aplomb. Tina Nolen is Princess Prince (who'd love to unbuckle his swash). Nolen was last seen as the ingenue in "Sgt. Fenshaw of the Mounties." She is also a Lindy winner, and this portrayal of the just-this-side-of-annoying princess should qualify her for another.

The rest of the large cast contributes swell comic turns, with Harve Waltke and Bob Porter notable as Tweedledum and Tweedledee knights and Pat Newbert as a disembodied head.

The music's particularly strong this time around, with Martin interjecting numerous pop hits into the script. Kevin-Anthony and Nolen's duet of "When a Man Loves a Woman" was the showstopper, but several of the other songs worked well. The connection with "Rocky Horror" was reinforced by the use of that show's "Time Warp" as an overture and finale. Toni Kaye is credited as choreographer and Waltke as director of the several fight sequences.

As usual, the show was followed by a brief revue, giving the cast an opportunity to perform out of character--out of their Melodrama characters, at least.

This time, the theme was a loosely observed salute to the pop music of 1956, with songs including Gogi Grant's hit "The Wayward Wind," the Cadets' "Stranded in the Jungle," Johnny Mathis' 1957 "Wonderful! Wonderful!," the McGuire Sisters' 1955 "Sincerely" and Bill Haley's "See You Later, Alligator."

Pedants note: Members of the Platters may have worked as carwash attendants sometime in their history, but they'd been recording for two years before "My Prayer." And, while Bobby Scott did (as announced) write and record a song called "Chain Gang" that was a hit in 1956, the number this ensemble imaginatively performs is Sam Cooke's totally different 1962 song of the same title. On the other hand, the loss of either of those two numbers from the show would be a loss, indeed.


"The Clumsy Custard Horror Show" continues Thursdays through Sundays until June 1. Show times are 7 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with 3 p.m. Saturday matinees. Tickets are $10, or $7.50 for seniors and children under 12 Thursdays, Saturday afternoons and Sundays. For reservations or information, call 529-1212 between noon and 5 p.m.

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