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The Cocoanuts 

When: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 2 2008
Price: $15-$24

For a community theater to stage a celebrity vehicle like The Cocoanuts just like any other musical takes chutzpah, but CCCT had so much fun with Animal Crackers in 2006 that it decided to reunite its Marx Brothers for this show. George S. Kaufman's script for what would become the Marxes' first feature film isn't as strong as his one for Animal Crackers, and Irving Berlin's songs are entirely forgettable. Director Kate Culbertson keeps the pace snappy, especially in a beautifully executed door-slamming scene with half the characters darting in and out of two adjoining suites. Timothy Beagley does a credible Groucho, but he's not as hard to keep up with as he should be. Tom Reardon goes for gape-jawed idiocy as Chico, and his constantly trotting feet are just puzzling, but choreographer Amy Nielson's sleight-of-hand slapstick as Harpo is impeccable. Through March 2 at Contra Costa CivicTheatre (951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito).CCCT.org or 510-524-9132.


— Sam Hurwitt

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