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'Voyeur 2010' is one of the best but won't change detractors' minds

"Saturday's Voyeur, 2010," Salt Lake Acting Company, through Sept. 5 (801-363-7522); running time: 2 hours, 5 minutes (two intermission)

Orrin Hatch recording a Hanukkah album with backup singers and Jason Chaffetz hovering about.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto in a Mormon pioneer graveyard while pioneer ghouls parody the dance from Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Sarah Palin at a book signing in Costco while others sing Tom Jones' "She's a Lady."

It can only mean another year of "Saturday's Voyeur."

"Saturday's Voyeur 2010: The Year That Was" at The Salt Lake Acting Company is everything fans expect from the annual production poking fun at life in Utah: witty, funny, clever, satirical, off-beat, R rated and bound to be offensive to some.

But like every year, there are elements of the show that work better than others.

The good: "Saturday's Voyeur" is filled with sharp writing from Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht and anchored by an all-around solid cast. Aaron Swenson's Tonto, Kent Harrison Hayes' Orrin Hatch, Victoria Elena Nones' Sarah Palin and Voyeur veteran Alexis Baigue, in particular, deliver standout performances.

As the title suggests, this year's play is ripped from the headlines, tying skits together based on news stories of the past year. From Palin's book signing venture at Costco, kissing at the LDS Church's Main Street Plaza, former BYU quarterback Max Hall, Tiger Woods and even the struggling newspaper industry and Media One's "How I Read" promotion, if it made news in Utah over the past year, there's a good chance it will be retold (and skewered) in "Voyeur."

Probably more so than any other Voyeur in recent memory, however, those who have paid close attention to Utah news over the past year ... especially news about Utah lawmakers ... will get the most out of the production. Gov. Gary Herbert, former state Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack, former state Sen. Kevin Garn and Utah House Rep. Carl Wimmer are all prominent targets. Casual news followers might not pick up on all of the jokes.

This year's production seems a tad edgier than in previous years, with a little more bite toward some of the people being satirized, such as Utah Eagle Forum president Gayle Ruzicka.

The controversy surrounding stolen Indian artifacts in Blanding also plays a big role in "Voyeur 2010," something that based on the real life circumstances surrounding the case might have been too taboo for even SLAC to touch.

But with good writing and a pair of fine performances from Swenson and Jesse Pepe, "Voyeur" is able to pull it off and actually provide one of the funnier skits of the play.

The bottom line is if you're already a "Voyeur" fan, you'll probably find this year's production one of the best in several years. But if you don't like "Voyeur," this production will do nothing to change your mind.

Sensitivity rating: language, homosexuality, sexual innuendo.

e-mail: preavy@desnews.com