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Box Office of the Damned proves fun in spite of itself

The rest of the cast doesn't come in far behind. Young Jessica Calvello charms as Tracie, the new girl, a gangly goody-goody who literally can't say no; listening to her speed sing in one song that she has to "take a ticket, rip a ticket (hey!)" leaves you panting. As a clerk, Bethany Daniels amusingly switches gears from insincerely helpful when dealing with customers to sincerely hardened when not on duty. James Cowan's hints of Joel Grey are so funny they're creepy, and Paul Nicely does very well as the pseudo-imploring ticket in "Remember Me."

But perhaps everything is best summed up by Jim Phillips, and that's not just for his adorable turn in drag as a no-talent ditz of a chorus girl convinced she's really talented. No, why Phillips encapsulates Theater LaB's production is because, on opening night, while playing a very proper Englishman, his fake mustache gradually fell off over the course of a song. The crowd waited to see how Phillips would take care of the problem. It took him until the mustache landed on the floor to figure out how: he stamped on it, turning a mishap into something fun. That's exactly what Theater LaB does with Box Office of the Damned.

Box Office of the Damned plays through February 11 at Theater LaB, 1706 Alamo, 868-7516.

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