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LIP SERVICE, Workshop Theatre, at Victory Gardens Studio Theater. Given the recent Carol Marin-Jerry Springer controversy, one would think that Howard Korder's lampoon of a Good Morning America-style TV show, in which an old-fashioned newsman is eventually supplanted by a cackling, muckraking, happy-talking buffoon, would be quite timely. But Korder blows his opportunity for trenchant satire in this long-winded, predictable comedy, going for the same easy laughs and stereotypes that make tabloid TV such a national scourge. In his paint-by-numbers world, TV executives are a parrotlike chorus, women are daffy, money-hungry blondes, and TV personalities are either hard-nosed Walter Cronkites or giddy, vacuous morons who seem to have overdosed on nitrous oxide. Is this any more insightful than an episode of Montel Williams?

Well, certainly not in Workshop Theatre's production, directed by acting teachers Michael Colucci and Michael Sorenson, who founded this company using students from their Actors Workshop classes. Fortunately Colucci, who also plays old-time newsman Gil Hutchinson, is a fine actor who lends a touch of professionalism and intelligence to an otherwise flat, sluggishly paced show that indulges in Korder's dim-witted stereotypes with nary an ounce of critical detachment. Someone pass me the remote control.

--Adam Langer

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