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But while the performers do their job, the text fails in its. Though bounding with wit ("Did you ever make up a friend?" someone asks. Response: "Like with lipstick?") and though the central premise -- a goofily quaint wonderland in a world that's become a graveyard -- is not only charming but resonant, the metaphor simply isn't thought out. In Tammyland, a nasty, unidentified creature called "The Lonely One" wreaks havoc by killing people; the parallel to AIDS is as underdeveloped as it is obvious. Tammy, an ugly duckling schoolgirl at the center of Tammyland, is a soul mate to her new friend Perkins, but we're not told what to make of this. We're also supposed to make something of the fact that they're both orphans, though exactly what I don't know. Some characters are irrelevant, while others, set up as important, are dropped. Motifs run amuck. The story even stops in its tracks for a lounge act. And if you think about it, the plot -- learning how to "go on" -- is really one big cliche.

In these two shows, gaiety comes from what's on the stage more than from what's in the texts.

Soul Survivor plays through July 1 at Curtains Theater, 3722 Washington Avenue, 522-2204.

Waiting for a Kiss plays through July 1 at Main Street Theater, 2540 Times Boulevard, 524-6706.

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