The "Guys and Dolls" that's playing here through Dec. 16 is a very bright, very broad cartoon version of the classic Broadway musical. It's pitched at a high noise level and played at a frantic pace, its jokes delivered with such mugging and screeching that you can almost see the dialogue pop out in comic strip balloons.

The show has always been a comic fantasy, peppered with the jokes in librettist Abe Burrows' sharp adaptation of Damon Runyon's short story. In this edition, however, the comedy is carried across with an indiscriminate, ear-splitting crescendo.

The scenery (by Norbert Kolb), the lighting (by Michael Gilliam) and the costumes (by Paul Tazewell) are the best things about the touring production. They're freshly imagined and witty, zipping the show along and keeping the characters colorful.

Frank Loesser's rousing score, containing such show-tune gems as the comical "Adelaide's Lament" and the romantic "I've Never Been in Love Before," are socked over with gung-ho verve and a lot of strenuous dancing (in choreography by Ken Roberson).

Director Charles Randolph-Wright's staging, on view at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, can hardly wait to get things hustling and bustling.

Maurice Hines, as a dapper Nathan Detroit, proprietor of the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York, whirls down to the front of the stage while the overture is still playing, and from then on, the cast rips through the scenes at a breakneck pace. This speed has its advantages, since there's not much more than surface flash in the performances.

Hines, with a hoofer's spin and a magician's gestures, leads the parade of lovable lowlifes and wise guys, while Alexandra Foucard, with a pin-up figure and leather-lung vocalizing, portrays, with manic screeching, his long-suffering doll, the showgirl Miss Adelaide.

For respite from these broad antics, there are Diane Sutherland as the demure mission preacher, Miss Sarah Brown, and Brian Sutherland (her offstage husband and possessor of a fine voice) as Sky Masterson, the carefree gambler whom she finally brings into the fold.

Clent Bowers is NicelyNicely Johnson, the jolly round fellow who gets to lead the guys and their dolls in singing the climactic anthem "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat." And Paul Depasquale, as the snoopy Police Lt. Brannigan, wins the prize for the most annoyingly overplayed performance in this very overplayed production.