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THEATER REVIEW : Fun in Being ‘Calorically Challenged’

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In his “one-and-a-half” man show, “Calorically Challenged and Proud of It,” the unabashedly adipose Eric Edwards takes a light approach to weighty matters: the curse of corpulence; the agony of avoirdupois; or, generally speaking, the onus of being oinky.

Essentially a stand-up routine fleshed-out (ahem) with autobiographical material, Edwards’ opus, which he co-wrote with his director Scott Trost, lacks structure and a through-line. Edwards spends the majority of the action bemoaning his lack of girlfriends and pining over the one that got away.

Taped voices are used throughout, but the integrity of the one-man format is jarringly violated when Edwards’ friend Billy (Michael Capellupo, the show’s producer) shows up in the final moments.

Despite the show’s limitations, however, certain of Edwards’ bits are very funny indeed. This “rebel without a waistline” does a pretty fair James Dean imitation. Although he doesn’t quite have the stomach for it (ahem again), Edwards is asked to disrobe at an audition by a producer, who chortles, “There’s nothing funnier than a naked fat guy.”

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But, as Edwards demonstrates, an emotionally naked, calorically challenged guy can be funny too.

* “Calorically Challenged and Proud of It,” Playhouse West, 4250 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Intermittent Sundays, 7 p.m., including this Sunday and Jan. 22. $7. (818) 441-8670. Special performance at Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, Jan. 28, 8 p.m.; (800) 538-3152. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.


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