The Take 5 Comedy Troupe serves up "Spring's Chickens" 

Tastes Like Chicken

It's hard not to root for someone who's willing to thoroughly embarrass himself to make you laugh. Take, for example, Blaise Miller of the Take 5 Comedy Troupe. In the troupe's comedy show, "Spring's Chickens," currently playing at Ashland Coffee and Tea, Miller delivers a tribute to the day's first cup of coffee, sung to the tune of "Angel of the Morning." You can't help but laugh at how utterly tuneless his singing is, not to mention how silly he looks in those dime-store wings.

Take 5 relies on this kind of good-natured goofiness for most of its appeal. "Chickens" is primarily an improv show in which the five troupers take suggestions from the crowd and twist and corrupt them into what passes for comedy skits. Even when a routine doesn't get all the way to funny, it usually generates something moderately clever. The quickest on his feet here is Jamie Allen, who could have built a whole comedy act around the hilarious blind bagpipe player he improvised in one of the skits. All the performers got a chance to shine, however. Jennifer Frank generated some grins as a white-trash grandmother trying to keep her errant grandson (Patrick Raines) from licking the third rail at the train station. Kathy Parker scored with her milquetoast Lifetime channel hostess.

In addition to the improv games, "Chickens" includes several rehearsed musical numbers that range from a mediocre variation on "YMCA" to an inspired chicken song, "I Believe I Can Fly." A spot in the show is reserved for a special guest appearance by another local performer (Scott Foard from the cable access show, "Anything and Everything," the night I attended).

"Spring's Chickens" will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursdays through May 27 at Ashland Coffee and Tea. Tickets are $5. Take 5 will also perform a similar show called "Spring Water Fever" at the Firehouse Theatre on Tuesday nights through May 25. Tickets are $7. Call 262-5680 for

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