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Details Are Sketchy in 'Sketches 7' Show

August 25, 2000|JANA J. MONJI

Thirty-odd negligible skits in about 50 intermissionless minutes, "Sketches 7: Bury the Hatchet" at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group is directed by Zombie Joe and Josh T. Ryan. They and their three colleagues--T. Arthur Cottam, Denise Devin and Bernadette Larsen--gallop through the material, dressed in black T-shirts, black pants and black shoes, faces painted white, with blacked-out eyes and lips for a slightly sinister zombie mask.

The result is a comic-strip effect, driven by a rock beat.

In one sketch, Zombie Joe and Ryan appear in the original "Star Wars" poster pose of Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, respectively. There's no dialogue or movement, just the ridiculously serious expression of the husky Zombie Joe in an auburn wig looking like she's more likely to be saving the light saber-bearing guy rather than the other way around.

There's a trilogy of short scenes that has the company in kissing pairs; each blackout reveals a different couple until the third one features the luckless Cottam, who has no one to kiss.

Perhaps over the years, this group's following has developed some in-jokes. Perhaps earlier Underground Theatre Group shows revealed stronger comic material, weightier ideas. On its own, "Sketches 7" resembles a very good amateur production put on for friends and family, but not quite ready for the general public.

* "Sketches 7: Bury the Hatchet," Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fridays and Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Ends Sept. 2. $10. (818) 202-4120. Running time: 50 minutes.

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