The singing cowboy: Burdette and company
photo: Mercedes McAndrew

Sometimes it seems that current politics defy satire, but that doesn't stop the hilarious new Thalia Follies from trying. It's a lot funnier than that wacky comedy revue now playing at the Garden. Granted, Republicans make an easy target, and the cast gleefully admits in the opening number they're preaching to the converted. Which is fine when skits hit their mark: "We Speak Not of Osama," sung to the tune of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"; a summary of Dubya's days as a National Guard party animal ("George Fell in Alabama"). Other gags—a Gilbert & Sullivan John Ashcroft (Kevin Burdette)—recall the Capitol Steps on an off night. Calvin Trillin's verse works better on the page than onstage, while a reading of E.L. Doctorow's "Rant" isn't so much preachy as shrill. And Nora York's heartrending song about a single mom feels like it belongs in a different show. No recount needed, though: Laughs outnumber the dead spots, even during the first-act closer, Jonathan Sheffer's mini-opera with Jerry Falwell (Burdette) and Pat Robertson (Sidney J. Burgoyne) blaming 9-11 on gays, abortionists, and the ACLU. The libretto's a real 700 Club transcript. Truth is indeed stranger—and funnier—than satire.

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