The Rip Nelson Halloween Spooktacular Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Nov. 6 2010

Like most Hell in a Handbag shows, this campy, vulgar send-up of mid-70s television variety specials constantly teeters on the brink of collapse. Sometimes it's sublimely coarse, as when a mentally clouded Kate Smith has a bowel movement while belting God Bless America. And sometimes it just seems like it could use another day of rehearsal. Still, David Cerda's deliciously overstuffed script captures the inherent absurdity of old network specials, with has-beens and newcomers shoehorned into dreadful skits that make everyone look bad. While the central thread—the desperate efforts of drunken, lecherous, D-listed Rip Nelson to save his career—is the least successfully developed element in the show, the surrounding mayhem is golden, building to Charo's jaw-droppingly awful finale, "Hoochie Coochie Halloween." —Justin Hayford

Price: $12-$17

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