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Unconscious Fun

Madcap plot and a daffy star get laughs in 'I Take This Man.'


The Boston Marathon has just ended, and art museum curator Gideon "Giddy" Hollis is returning, with a policeman and an unconscious body, to her nearby apartment. Her husband, she tells the cop, collapsed before finishing the race. The cop places the body on Giddy's sofa and leaves, promising to stop by later to make sure that the husband has recovered.

So begins "I Take This Man," a madcap farce that's playing at the Marquie Dinner Theater in Camarillo. The play, written by Jack Sharkey, is expertly directed by Martin Horsey.

As soon becomes evident, all is not as it seems. She may be an art curator, but the aptly named Giddy is one color short of a full palette, or one hanging short of an installation: In other words, she's not quite there.

To reveal anything at all about what comes next would give away much of the fun. Suffice it to say that there are a couple of plot twists; that Giddy is a combination of Lucille Ball's "Lucy," Mary Tyler Moore's "Mary" and--especially--Gracie Allen. When a friend asks her why a man is wearing only his shorts, Giddy replies, with irrefutable, if unexpected, logic, "You can't expect him to take them off--we have company!"

Marcy Adriane-Austin is cute as can be as the confused Giddy; strong supporting performances are supplied by Valerie Belardinelli as her friend Charlene; Tim Ahern as Charlene's betrothed, Rex; William Terry as the initially unconscious Antonio; and K.C. Hornick as the friendly policeman.

With several laughs a minute to its credit, Sharkey's play is sometimes clumsily constructed, and the unraveling plot doesn't make much sense if you give it any thought. Never mind: "I Take This Man" is almost too much fun.

* "I Take This Man" continues through June 7 at the Marquie Dinner Theater, 340 N. Mobil Ave., Camarillo. Performances are Thur.-Sat. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; dinner is served from 7; and the show begins shortly after 8. Tickets, which include the performance, buffet dinner with a choice of entrees; nonalcoholic beverages; tax and tip are $30; seniors, $28; students and children, $25. For reservations (mandatory) or information, call 484-9909.


CASTING CALL: The Santa Paula Theater Center will hold auditions for Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" on Wednesday, from 7-10 p.m. and April 5 from 1-4 p.m. at the center, 125 S. 7th St., Santa Paula.

Director David Ralphe asks those auditioning to be familiar with the play (based on the writing staff of the 1950s TV variety hour "Your Show of Shows"), to bring a prepared comic monologue of his or her choosing, and to be prepared for a cold reading from the script or some other source. Also, those auditioning should bring a current head shot and resume.

The show will run Thursday through Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees at the Santa Paula Theater Center (June 8-Aug. 3) and at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center (Aug. 10-31). There is no pay. For information, call 525-3073.

The Conejo Players will hold auditions for its production of "Rashomon," April 6 at 2:30 p.m. and April 7-8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Players' theater, 351 S. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks. Performances are Thursdays-Saturday evenings, June 20-July 19. Call Donna at 495-6391.

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