Chooze Your Own Adventure: The Cavern of Time
Serious Dogs Productions at the Union Garage, 444-4315. Through June 2.

It's about archetypes and jamming them up with over-the-top parody and sly, irreverent throw-away lines. This group of actors (culled mostly from local sketch-comedy groups) controls this loud, funny show so well that the choose-your-own-adventure conceit seems almost like excess baggage.

Based on the 1980s kids' adventure books, The Cavern of Time follows normal kid Billy into a weird cave that sends him back into history, both recent and ancient. It's up to the audience to tell the show's narrator which way they want the theatrical adventure to unfold. This may sound trite, but you gotta be there to appreciate the revved, hilarious stage full of bawdy, nutty humor. Val Bush is fine as a horny princess eager to tongue-kiss a dragon puppet; she also pulls off an amusing send-up of a film-noirish dame, sending out brief grimaces that, for all their craziness, add depth. Yusef Lambert works in a similar way, playing a private investigator, the Apostle Paul, and a caesar with a bad case of insanity from mercury poisoning. It's hard to stop watching the amazing topography of his meaty chest as he somehow brings it into his characterizations. Evan Mosher as Billy is rather fascinating too; his youthful looks mix creepily with the nasty-boy sexual edge he adds to this role.

Kachina White's costumes have bold, funny strokes that add pleasantly to the parody. The stage is often a crazy, swirling mélange of swift action and one-liners; the actors work industriously and have a great time without showing it off. There's little clue how the director and cast make their quick changes into the dozens of scene possibilities, but that's the fun. Good entertainment, even better if you're coming from a bar.