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THEATER REVIEW : Weirdness Can’t Sustain ‘Social Science’

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

“Social Science Fiction” at Theatre/Theater is aptly named. The best thing this anthology of comedy sketches about urban neurosis has going for it is its cheerful lack of congruence with how people actually behave.

Unfortunately, it isn’t enough. Weirdness alone can’t make these skits inherently valuable, despite the sometimes painful struggles of the cast to ignite sparks.

Much of the first half revolves around coincidence: A personal ad-inspired meeting in which the couple (Raul Clayton Staggs and Robin Lilly) turn out to know each other is followed by an unsavory wager in which con artist John Apicella and his mark (Lily)--well, turn out to know each other.

The second act ventures into more paranoid terrain with a Kafkaesque interrogation scene and an over-the-top bit about a community board meeting of right-wing extremists who’ve gotten hold of a black-market Soviet warhead. A recurring frame story about a hysterical groom (Apicella) and his drunken bride-to-be (Julie Silverman) should have been left at the altar.

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* “Social Science Fiction,” Theatre/Theater, 1713 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Sundays, 3 p.m. Ends Dec. 17. $10. (213) 850-6941. Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.


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