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Published Aug. 24, 2005

(ran North, South editions)

To call Love, Sex and the IRS a "wild farce" is something of an understatement. Zany. Absurd. Ridiculous. Daft. All those things that make people laugh without thinking.

"This is a really funny show," says director Charlie Skelton in a tone of voice that sounds as though he's surprised at how loony the show gets.

Two out-of-work musicians, Jon Trachtman (Derek Wallen, lawyer in Fear of Filing) and Leslie Arthur (Drew Lundquist, Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls) are saving money by rooming together in a cramped New York City apartment.

To save a few more bucks, Jon has taken advantage of his roommate's cross-gender first name and has been claiming him as his wife on his federal income tax return. The thrifty arrangement comes under siege, though, when IRS investigator Mr. Spinner (George Lynch, Wizard in Wizard of Oz) announces that he's going to drop by for a visit _ and ask a few pointed questions.

There's only one thing to do: make male Leslie into female Leslie, 5 o'clock shadow and all.

"This is when it really gets wild," Skelton said.

The William Van Zandt-Jane Milmore comedy has played in years past at two other local venues, the now defunct Angel "garden cafe" Theatre and the very much alive Show Palace Dinner Theatre. It was one of both venues' most well-received shows. In fact, the show was so popular with Show Palace audiences, it convinced the theater to do a comedy (as opposed to the traditional musical) at least once every summer.

Others in the cast are Susan Nichols (Witch in Wizard of Oz) as Kate, who is supposedly Jon's devoted fiancee but is having a fling with Leslie; Leanne Germann (Sister Agatha in Guys and Dolls) as Leslie's suspicious ex-girlfriend; and Anne Lakey (Ida in The Cemetery Club) as Jon's nosey mother, Vivian.

Joe Connelly (the Living Computer in Fear of Filing) plays a seedy subway guy who simply complicates the scene, and Nick Lisandro (Big Julie in Guys and Dolls) is the ever-present landlord.

If you go

WHAT: Love, Sex and the IRS

WHERE: Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey

WHEN: Thursday and weekends through Jan. 30. Shows are at 8 p.m., except Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

TICKETS: $15, reserved seating. Box office is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and an hour before each show. Call (727) 842-6777.