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THEATER BEAT

A Hit, Some Misses in 'Jingle's' Camp

December 27, 1996|JANA J. MONJI

Imagine long, long ago in some distant television universe--like a small local Latin American television station--that someone came up with the idea for "Star Wars," or in this case, "Guerra de Estrellas," and made a bargain-basement production of it.

There is no seasonal tie-in, but this campy comedy is wonderful fun and indicates a promising new entrant to the cult movie reinterpretation theater scene in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, this comes after the Company of Angels Comedy Workshop has performed a dozen puerile skits that form the bulk of "Jingle Balls: A Holiday Comedy Spectacular."

The holiday theme is tenuously offered through the conceit that the Comedy Workshop is sharing the stage with Sister Mary Felicitous' (Michael Luckerman) sixth-grade finalists for a Christmas pageant. A nervous kid (Ezra Weisz) barfs on stage, for example, and construction workers (Luckerman, K.C. Marsh and Weisz) dance the "Buttcracker Suite." Head writer Keith Kufeldt relies on the easy laughs generated from bathroom humor, giving the skits a high school mentality.

Yet the comedic vision of this company really takes flight in the final foray. It's the tale about a young lad (Rebecca Avery) learning the intricacies of "la fuerza" (the force) and saving a beautiful princess (Sabrina Hill wearing kaiser rolls as earmuffs) with the help of Juan Solamente (Weisz). Performed in Spanish, this rendition includes a vacuum cleaner, a pinata and the macarena. Weisz and Kufeldt skillfully choreograph the chase scenes and direct this ensemble into consistently good bad acting.

* "Jingle Balls: A Holiday Comedy Spectacular," Company of Angels, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Ends Jan. 4. $8. (213) 466-1767. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

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