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Dial 10-10-Y2K 

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Dial 10-10-Y2K, at Strawdog Theatre Company. For the predominantly young audiences whose appetites for sketch comedy are seemingly boundless, a midnight show in March may be a great idea. Indeed, ImprovOlympic and Annoyance regularly offer graveyard-shift amusement to Clark Street pub crawlers. But Dial 10-10-Y2K--a one-hour comedy revue written and performed by Paul Preston and Karen Volpe--will need more work if it's going to attract mainstream or fringe theatergoers to the lonely corner of Broadway and Sheridan in the wee, chilly hours.

The show has its original moments, however. A teenage boy is bored by his elderly neighbor's reminiscences until her memories take an erotic turn. A husband uneasy with gynecological terminology is cured of his phobia. A couple with their radio tuned to the police scanner speculate on the lowlifes requiring constabulary intervention, then find themselves suddenly included among the culprits. But the sketch in which lovers converse in song lyrics has been done many times before. A series of scenes set in a crisis center for stressed-out screenwriters needs to be developed and tightened. And the framing narrative--about a New Age deity and his inquisitive daughter surveying the human race--would be soporific even in a show not already handicapped by its snooze-friendly curtain time.

--Mary Shen Barnidge


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