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CATCH A WAVE OF BIG LAUGHS AT `SURFIN' SAFARI'

Here's the luau-down on Desert Star Playhouse's narly new surfer spoof, dude: The Great Kahuna, considered a god among surfers, should be smiling with pleasure for the next few weeks.

Beyond accomplished pianist Sue Talmage's instructions for the proper way to boo, hiss and cheer, the only "message" you'll get here is to sit back, munch on pizza and let the villains and heroes duke it out on the golden sands of Surfin' Beach in Southern California.Director Edward J. Gryska has a fine cast of both DSP regulars and newcomers, pretty much evenly divided between Good Guys and Bad Guys (we're talking about character traits here, not acting ability).

Leading the "good guy" pack are Jack Drayton as super-cool and heroic Frankie Avon and veteran actor Rocky Revels as lovable Papa Oohmaumau, owner of the Surfer Shack and a sought-after stretch of California beach.

Chandler Bishop is very funny as Wipeout, Frankie's best friend. Ginger Judkins is, well . . . Ginger (shades of Sandra Dee and Gidget) and Lisa Moss is Barbi, an oceanic Valley Girl and 300-year-old mermaid who reels in Wipeout.

The villains in this Tom Jordan adaptation are Roger Stephenson as Ronald Rump (and, yes, during a party at his palatial beach house it's suggested they have a "Rump Roast"), Jerry Rapier as Stretch (the show's most hilarious performance) and Kimberlee Hart as Anna Nicole Broccoli.

Rapier's "The Bird is the Word" antics nearly steal the show.

The gist of the plot (you really don't go to Desert Star Playhouse to get immersed in complicated situations) is: Papa is $500 in arrears on the mortgage payment on his beachfront property and surfboard business. Rump and his bumbling cohorts plot to oust the surfers and build luxury condiments . . . er, condominiums ("Like Grey Poupon?" suggests Wipeout, while he's basting a pig at a luau on the beach).

When the Rump and his friends crash Papa's school's out party, they claim they're from Bali High.

Seven Nielsen's scenery is splendid - especially the wave-effects during the surfing championship in Act Two and the clever, jumbotron-ish touch for zooming in on the contest.

Gayle Hayes' choreography, Ruth Todd's colorful costumes and Todd Mangiapa's lighting are also right on target.

The post-show olios, directed by Hayes, have a fast-paced "Sun, Sun, Summertime" theme, with 20 minutes of ensemble and solo numbers, ranging from "In the Good Old Summertime" and "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" to a Beach Boys medley, Jack Drayton's hilarious rendition of "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" and Kimberlee Hart's belting of "Summertime."

Surf's up . . . curtain's up . . . the pace is up(beat) . . .and the standing room only sign could be up, too, when word-of-mouth gets around.