"The Great Big, Super Important All Star, Jackpot Jump Rope Competition Show"

"The Great Big, Super Important All Star, Jackpot Jump Rope Competition Show" tells the story of Three, a freakishly tall nine year old who gets his big break jumping rope.  At least it did this Monday.  "Jump Rope" is an interactive, all-scripted show where the outcome of the show is decided by an audience vote.  In Act II, the audience decides which character to follow, and in Act III, one of the five characters die.

Snappy and well-written, the script is full of laugh-out-loud-funny jokes and word play.  Writers Todd Rohrbacher and Alex Alexander also act in the show as the high energy elementary school principal, and doting stage mom respectively.  Rohrbacher is impeccable as Principal Warburton, and Alexander is lovable as Peggy. 

The script has a lot of success juxtaposing the childlike subject matter with baudy humor and language.  The political commentary sprinkled throughout was a little less effective, and seemed out of place in an otherwise lighthearted show.

The show does have many possible endings and outcomes, which can be daunting for a cast, since each possible ending needs to look as rehearsed and polished as the first act which is set each night.  It was a bit off-putting when one of the actors clearly was reading from the script onstage. 

The Hostess, Cynthia Szigeti, had some funny moments, but the interruptions to the show were often too long, and made the show seem to drag in places.  She had her best moments while interacting with audience members.  Chris Akers was a likable Three, and he played age well, without becoming a caricature. Jenna Allen has some hilarious moments as the slightly disturbed Myrtle.

Structural problems in the show took away from the otherwise sharp script.  The play was developed around a single scene produced for the TheatreCRAM 2004, and in places, this shows.  Act III, although hilariously written and full of great moments, feels tacked on and doesn't resolve any of the conflicts of the show.  The theatrical device of "audience participation" is fun, especially for this type of comedy, but the story and preparation of some of the actors suffered as a result. 

Despite its structural problems, "The Great Big, Super Important All Star, Jackpot Jump Rope Competition Show" is a fun show with topnotch comedy writing.  And hey, if you see it once and don't like the outcome, your ticket gets you in to see another, new-to-you performance another Monday.

Mondays at The National Comedy Theatre, 733 Seward St, Hollywood. 
Admission is $10
For reservations call (213) 612-9700

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