Foodsexworksleepgod

Thought not as consistently amusing as their smash hit The People vs. Friar Laurence, the Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, this is author-director Ron West and musical collaborator Phil Swann's ingeniously structured tidal wave of sketch comedy. Each scene after the first contains some sort of holdover, be it a character or plot line, which jump-starts its successor. With a throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks mentality, ergo the production's title, some moments are bona fide hits, others are of the "falls flat" variety. Fortunately, West's lively cast of eight smoothes over the potholes.

In the plus column, Challen Cates invites her neighbor to a chain of prayer meetings gone awry where Aaron McPherson, playing a smug minister, publicly exposes his parishioners' faults. Meanwhile, Andrew Schlessinger and Hepburn Jamieson compete to top each other with horror tales of whose "friend" is in most need of heavenly intercession. Far less successful, however, is an opening sequence parodying the audition process of A Chorus Line. Seemingly designed to kick off the show with the entire cast onstage, it's neither humorous nor engaging and leaves this otherwise talented octet fighting an uphill battle to regain our comic camaraderie.

Sprinkled throughout the production are Swann's contributions, a series of untitled original songs. Amelia Borella, playing a school principal, dreams of escaping to a less-stressful career at Kinko's. Bruce Green and Chad Fifer sport the best vocal prowess in the bunch as a pair of highly stressed cubicle personnel on a lunch break. Their ridicule of a former fellow employee now working at a fast food joint slowly turns to grudging admiration for the freedom he obviously enjoys.

Happily, things end on a gut-busting high note. A family, consisting of parents Fifer and Borella with Jamila Alina as their daughter, does battle on Halloween. This trio, along with Green's endless supply of trick-or-treating children, each dressed as none other than Bruce Green, duck on and offstage like dervishes. They re-enter, replaced each time by one of the others supposedly having donned that persona as a costume. It's fast, it's funny, and it's a perfect closer to this 70-minute circus of irreverence.

Presented by and at the Open Fist Theatre Company, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. Aug. 11-Sep. 16. (323) 882-6912. www.openfist.org.