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SAUCY JACK AND THE SPACE VIXENS

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The Confused Artist Sometimes Known as Prince might have concocted this campy, sex-space musical mayhem. Its pansexual glee parenthetically covers a nominal plot regarding Saucy Jack (Rob MacMullen), owner of the sleaziest nightclub on planet Frottage III, killing off each cabaret star who tries to leave his employ for greater heights.

When a trio of space vixens—led by Jack's ex, Jubilee Climax (Julie Hogan)—flies into town, the disco-driven silliness starts to go into hyper-sex-drive. As she adamantly says to Jack, stamping her silver glitter boots, she wants "love, respect, independence, and good head." Yes, don't we all.

Some of us also desire that all song lyrics, by Charlotte Mann and Michael Fidler, be fully heard, which is not the case with this spotty ensemble. The cast has a good time, but it cannot compensate for rudimentary rhyming schemes and taped music, composed by Jonathan Croose and Robin Forrest, the latter of which is raised and lowered in an attempt to accommodate some of the weaker voices.

In the Act One closer, MacMullen shows chops, singing and acting with the agonized and well-performed solo "Tortured Plaything." Joshua Grant, who looks, despite his muscular build, confusingly good as the female waitress Booby, is utterly hilarious, always wringing humor out of book-writer Mann's often less-than-stellar jokes.

Director Daniel Gary Busby moves the cast about the set in an energetic fashion, but, as much as one wants to like this frothy concoction, the set is disappointingly bland, the show is not worthy of two acts, including an interminable intermission, there are too many ending reprises of songs, and there is virtually no dramatic tension in the book. Robert Prosser and John Roberts are wonderfully way out there with the costumes. However, in space, no one can hear you scream, and in this space, not everyone can hear everything you sing.

"Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens," presented by and at the Ark Theatre, 1647 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A. Fri.-Sat. 8 pm, Sun. 2 & 7 pm. Jan. 29-Apr. 9. $10-20. (323) 969-1707.

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