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Theatre Review: Philadelphia Troupe Pairs Original With Classic in Sid Caesar Homage

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - If laughter occupies a prominent place in your entertainment diet, you certainly owe a considerable debt to 1812 Productions, "Philadelphia's All-Comedy Theatre Company," currently producing in repertory a pair of rather unique shows at Plays & Players.

The first play, the Neil Simon classic "Laughter On The 23rd Floor," is based on Simon's own experience as a writer for Sid Caesar's fabled TV comedy show "Your Show Of Shows."

But it's the second production, titled "Our Show of Shows" and running on different nights than "23rd Floor" that's the real standout -- a locally created play performed by a stable of creative performers headed by creator-director Jennifer Childs, 1812's artistic director.

The cardinal rule of the material created for "Our Show Of Shows," explains Childs, is that the comedy must originate from situation rather than from joke.  This Philadelphia collection begins from a series of verbal and physical explosions transformed into dramatic posturing and high-blown nonsense.

"Our Show of Shows" is a tad overworked, but its talent certainly knows how to operate today's creative funny business.

"Laughter on the 23rd Floor" runs through May 8th at Plays & Players, 1714 Delancey Place, in center city Philadelphia.  "Our Show of Shows" ends its run May 15th.

Reviewed by Bob Nelson, KYW Newsradio 1060

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