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Groundlings' 'Casino' Comes Up a Winner

November 06, 1998|JANA J. MONJI

"Groundlings Hotel and Casino" takes on the great gamble of everyday life, and this fast-paced bill of skits and improvs comes up with winners by wildly warping mundane experiences.

John Crane's "Break Up" is about a man (Crane) who decides to end his friendship with his golden-boy best friend (Mike LoPrete) when he can't stop fantasizing about him getting cancer. A man is pound-foolish when he matter-of-factly tells his wife (Mary Jo Smith) that he wonders what life would be like if they weren't married in "Penny Wise." Crane and LoPrete find football has a funny effect on them in "A Football Thing." The trials of dating are examined in Roy Jenkins' "Enthusiastic Following," Holly Mandel's "Blind Date," and Jenkins' and Mandel's "You Send Me."

Jenkins and Crane team up to examine the valuables of audience members in the hilariously pretentious "Antiques Road Show." In other skits, Crane takes us to Tower Records, playing an obnoxious sales clerk who almost begs customers to "call the manager," while LoPrete plays a rapper who explains the euphemisms used by a record executive (Jenkins) during a "Eulogy" for a rapper friend.

Karen Maruyama directs this show at a gallop and sets up some improbable improvs with the help of the audience, including the final number: a spoof of "The Lion King."

*

* "Groundlings Hotel and Casino," Groundling Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 p.m. $17.50. (323) 934-9700. Running time: 2 hours.

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