THEATER BEAT : 'Ukraine' Tries Intimate Location

When the Dick Vosburgh/Frank Lazarus show "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine" played the Wilshire Theatre in 1982, critics noted how skimpy it seemed at such a large theater.

Actors Alley and director Anne Drecktrah try to make it work in their 76-seat tent on the grounds of the TV academy. It's now "a night in North Hollywood," so to speak. But it's still featherweight and forgettable.

The first half is a creaky musical revue about old Hollywood. Most of the performers, dressed as ushers, occasionally leave the main stage and venture up to a mini-stage on a platform at the back, which is built so we can see only the feet and calves of the dancers--from this, we can guess which legendary stars they're playing. This little device quickly wears thin.

The only scene worth mentioning--or doing--from "A Day in Hollywood" is a tap routine in which the cast recites rules from the old Production Code. Clever.

After intermission, the same cast stages a faux Marx Brothers presentation of Chekhov's "The Bear." The impersonations of the Marxes--Gene Freedman as Groucho, David Koff as Chico, Susan Mackin as Harpo, are well done, as is Susan Sandel's Marguerite Dumont. But it still seems like a pale reflection of the real thing, which is now easily available on video.

* "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine," Actors Alley at the TV academy, 5220 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Ends Dec. 18. $18. Tonight's performance is a pay-what-you-can benefit for Equity Fights AIDS. (818) 508-4200. Running time: 2 hours, 5 minutes.

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