Magnolia Boulevard in North Hollywood has been touted as "the next Melrose" in a promotional campaign that has raised the eyebrows of some of the neighbors.
But with the arrival of the Tujunga Group in "Some Assembly Required," at the Acme Comedy Theatre near the heart of the "next Melrose," that label suddenly seems less ridiculous. For every Melrose needs its Groundlings, and this "next Melrose" has found its Groundlings look-alikes in the Tujunga Group.
"Some Assembly Required" features the same mix of sketches and improvs, the same sharply manic caricatures, the same knack for incorporating audience members themselves--as well as their ideas--into the action. As at the Groundlings, it's all connected and powered by an electronic keyboard player (Jonathan Green).
The writing may not be up to the Groundlings average yet, but there is plenty of talent and promise here. Paul Rugg appears to be the most prolific and clever writer, as well as the most chameleonic performer. And producer-director M.D. Sweeney structured the program so that the weaker bits are soon forgotten, and the audience leaves in a fairly giddy mood.
The program appears to change with some regularity, so there is no guaranteeing that every evening is as zippy as the one I saw. But it would be fun to go back to see another one.
\o7 The Tujunga Group in "Some Assembly Required," Acme Comedy Theatre, 5124 Lankershim Blvd. (just south of Magnolia), North Hollywood, Fridays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Indefinitely. $12. (818) 753-0650. Running time: 2 hours. \f7