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JEFFREY

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am no fan of things litigious. In this instance, however, I found myself perfervidly wishing that some sort of injunction be issued against this production to save playwright Paul Rudnick's reputation, to save the actors' egos, to save the two hours per head the audience has wasted—anything just to make it stop. If there is anything positive to be said about the evening, it's that Shane Morton's utter lack of direction at least lets the appealing aspects of the performers' personalities shine through, unimpeded as they are by anything like acting. In the eponymous role, Randy Spire is, well, real purdy. His bio claims his acting career is "still in its infancy"; let's pray he finds a better nanny next time. He has a sincerity about him that is winning, but he's undone by being adrift in an ostensibly comedic production, the primary feature of which is missed cues. Were these gaps real estate, we could comfortably fit the Aaron Spelling mansion on some of them. Topping that, most of the cast precedes lines with terse exhalations that indicate, "I'm acting now." This rarely proves to be the case, however. In all fairness, to continue to review this production as if it were a play is ludicrous. What we have here is busy work. Not only has the single female role in an admittedly male-heavy play been divided between two actresses, the entire production has been double-cast, and the second cast has its own director. This thing is running one month. Each cast gets two weekends. I wouldn't count on an extension. There has been no attempt to make it look like a finished production. The set consists of modular blocks that are never moved and rainbow-colored panels—in the wrong order—that do little to obscure the actors as they clunk about backstage. As a class exercise for friends—which is essentially what we sit through here—it's fine. But there's something shoddy and deceptive about an enterprise like this. It's not fair to the source, which may not be perfect but is funny. It's not fair to the actors, who certainly don't want to be seen in so poor a light. And it's not fair to the audience, the occasional member of which may not be a friend of the cast and after an experience like this may swear off small-house theatre for good. "Jeffrey," presented by Hollywood Fight Club Productions at the Hollywood Fight Club Theater, 6767 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Fri. 9 p.m., Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. Sep. 5-28. $12. (323) 465-080

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