Theater Review - Hawaiian punch

To see new breakthroughs in fake television variety shows starring loser celebrities either impersonated or fictional, witness Chick & Boozy's Fun Time Holiday Special: Live From Hawaii. Dad's Garage Theatre has made an annual tradition out of the yuletide "specials" hosted by bogus, washed-up movie star Chick Starley (writer/director Chris Blair) and his sidekick Boozy the Imp (puppeteer Lucky Yates). The latest is the most consistently pleasing yet.

Live From Hawaii sets the tone from the outset, with the tippling twosome storming the stage to croon a medley of best-forgotten pop songs like "Ghostbusters" and "Eye of the Tiger." Some gags fizzle and a show-stopping finale would be nice, but most of the routines catch fire like a Duraflame log. Live From Hawaii's lineup includes combat between famous prop comics, a live dog act and hula dancers (choreographed by Zoetic Dance Ensemble), whose moves deliberately switch from klutzy to naughty until you don't know whether to laugh or ... well, never mind.

Blair and the ensemble shrewdly tailor the material to the playhouse's improv sensibility, finding plenty of yuks in a parody version of "Match Game" with audience members as contestants. Dan Triandiflou demonstrates a talent — no doubt useless for 99 percent of his career — of mimicking TV has-beens, providing passable versions of Ricardo Montalban, Don Knotts and the Charlie-in-a-Box from "Rudolph's" Island of Misfit Toys.

In Live From Hawaii, Dad's Garage shows exactly how much showbiz craft is required for successful comedy, as shown by George Faughnan's rendition of Mr. T, funny both despite and because of Faughnan being a skinny young white guy. As ever, Chick & Boozy give the kind of show where it's OK — maybe even mandatory — to hiss at lame one-liners. But in Live from Hawaii, that's less likely than ever.

Chick & Boozy's Fun Time Holiday Special: Live From Hawaii plays through Dec. 22 at Dad's Garage Theatre Company, 280 Elizabeth St. Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 5 p.m. $10 advance, $15 at the door. 404-523-3141. www.dadsgarage.com.??

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