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'Mystery Science Theater'-Style Fundraiser

Members of the Collingswood Community Theater will riff on the 1978 cult classic, 'Starcrash,' Thursday and Friday at the Scottish Rite.

Known for its wisecracking-over-bad-movies shtick, the immortal cult comedy show Mystery Science Theater 3000 inspired tributes, imitations and do-it-yourself commentary tracks from comedians everywhere.

Now that winning format comes to Collingswood, brought to you in fundraiser form by members of the (CCT) group.

Four of the troupe’s funnymen (well, three and one funnywoman, technically) will take over the microphone at the to tear down the Star Wars-inspired science fiction classic, Starcrash.

The $20 ticket price includes unlimited adult beverages, which only helps grease the wheels, says event coordinator C.J. Kish. (The movie is 94 minutes with CCT adding two five-minute breaks to facilitate "bathroom and refill" needs.)

Even so, all the jokes—which are scripted, just as they were on MST3K—have been rehearsed to keep the players sharp.

“We’ve run it a couple times, and we’re going to have a few more runs in the space with the technical aspects,” Kish said.

Kish said Starcrash is ripe for parody because it is viewed as a Star Wars cash-in clone that was betrayed by poor production values.

Despite a cast that includes veteran actors like Christopher Plummer, Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff, Kish said, “The costumes are ridiculous, the special effects leave much to be desired and the script is laughable.”

Its plot: the galaxy is embroiled in a civil war that places Munro’s hero, Stella Star, in the middle of the conflict.

“She’s the female Han Solo, an outlaw pilot, and she’s recruited by the emperor (Plummer) to help fight the war,” Kish said.

Each of the CCT performers recruited to send up the film was selected for his or her different comedic talents, Kish said.

Bridget Coyle adds a dry humor, he says; Denny Matousch delivers impersonations. Joe Kish, C.J.’s father, commands pop culture references, and C.J. Kish said his own style is couched in non sequitur, “off-the-wall” humor.

“I’d worked with a lot of them before, and I liked their performing styles and their senses of humor and how they could convey that,” he said.

Starcrash will be shown Thursday, Aug. 2, and Friday, Aug. 3, in the Scottish Rite Auditorium. Door open at 7:30 and the show begins at 8 p.m. The $20 ticket price includes beer and wine.

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