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Open All Night

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The 24/7 Café by Memphis playwright Ruby O'Gray is a feather-light sitcom with one meager through-line holding it all together: Will Allene, a melancholy young waitress at the cafe, find the love she so richly deserves? It's a tried-and-true recipe for entertaining fluff, and O'Gray knows how to work it. There is not an ounce of pretension in her script, which is infused with sight gags and bolstered by delightfully lowbrow humor. And while the story itself may not be especially memorable, it is told through the eyes of 10 unforgettable characters.

Thomas is a gold-hearted letch who lives to look up women's skirts, and Fred, a pious man whose head can still be turned by a well-turned behind, are patrons who clash and converse throughout the show. The sassy Carla, the heartbroken Allene, and accident-prone Rita Mae are the café's tough and tender trinity of waitresses whose telephone greeting is "We're all-night and we're all right!"

If this new production of 24/7 in anything like previous productions, the bacon, eggs, and sausage that are constantly being prepared onstage will torture the audience with the irresistible odor of breakfast. It is a simple but potent reminder that, unlike film, theater is an art for all the senses.

24/7 Café at Evergreen Theatre Fridays and Saturdays, July 12th-20th at 8 p.m., and Sunday, July 21st, at 3 p.m. $20 (946-6140).

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