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THEATER BEAT

'Sister' Dashes Stereotypes Against a Wall of Comedy

March 20, 1998|F. KATHLEEN FOLEY

Writer-performer Jane Lynch and songwriters Faith and Jill Soloway explode the common myth about humorless feminists in their stylish sendup "Oh Sister, My Sister!" at the Tamarind.

Directed by Jill Soloway, this refreshingly screwball show explores--and comedically exploits--the confusions, foibles and hostilities of women ranging from a recently widowed Chicago senior to a radical lesbian folk singer.

The evening is moderated by Sandra Ragsdale, Lynch's obnoxiously self-important broadcaster, who turns every feminist issue she introduces into an opportunity for egomaniacal self-reference. As Judith, the lovelorn lesbian folkie who runs through "life partnerships" with depressing regularity, Lynch performs duets with Carrie Stauber and Mari Weiss, who are consecutively hilarious as Judith's various lovers.

Essentially a loosely linked series of character sketches, the show occasionally takes the low road to laughs. (The sound effect of a character urinating onstage is a case in point.) However, the closing number, "If Wishes Were Rainbows, So Am I" is inspired nonsense, delivered with side-splitting sententiousness.

*

* "Oh Sister, My Sister!" Tamarind Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Ends April 29. $10. (213) 937-1765. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

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