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THEATER REVIEWS

A Drive-In Farce

August 11, 1998|F. KATHLEEN FOLEY

The play is not the thing in Wolfskill Theater's "Mayhem at Mayfield Mall" at the Donald M. Jones Memorial Drive-In Playhouse. In fact, Joel Bloom's parody of vintage, low-budget sci-fi movies is thin to the point of emaciation. But don't let the cheerfully lamebrained plot put you off. Ambience is all and high camp prevails in this live drive-in play.

That's right, a live drive-in play. Drive right into the theater--a compact lot in a heavily industrialized downtown L.A. neighborhood--turn your radio to the proper FM station, and get ready to giggle under the stars. Directors Michael Shamus Wiles and Karen Maria Schleifer run rings around Bloom's lightweight conceit, eliciting supremely silly performances from a game cast.

Trouble looms when corrupt mall developer J.C. Bullock (Michael Caldwell) builds Mayfield's premiere mega-mall on a toxic waste dump, the site of a monstrous menace. Tired of a steady diet of deadly chemicals, Tommy the Toxic Waste Monster (Damien Repasi and C.J. Mills swathed in about 50 yards of furry fabric) develops an uncontrollable yen for mall-goers.

* "Mayhem at Mayfield Mall," Donald M. Jones Memorial Drive-In Playhouse, 615 S. Imperial St., Los Angeles. Friday-Saturday, 9 p.m. Indefinitely. $40 per 4-door; $30 per 2-door (no SUVs or vans). (213) 613-0986. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.

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