All In The Timing, Will Act for Food, at Phoenix Ascending Theatre. The production company’s title is not a joke. Will Act for Food’s mission since 1997 has been raising money to benefit homeless shelters and food pantries. And how better to accomplish this task than to–hey, I know!–put on a show?

The premises of David Ives’s six one-acts–a recently assassinated Leon Trotsky refusing to acknowledge the pickax protruding from his head, three chimpanzees comparing their literary output, an errand at the bakery that suddenly fragments into a polyphonic prose poem–may provide vehicles for the author’s dazzling verbal sleight of hand, but these technique-focused exercises don’t sustain our interest.

For the most part, the Will Act for Food players, under Jason Jude Hill’s direction, do justice to their material, keeping the pace brisk. Dennis Price and Alexis Klossner make a sweet pair of speech-impaired waifs liberated by a pun-filled polyglot doublespeak of their own creation, and Robb Rabito and Laura Ciresi make a sympathetic boy and girl searching by trial and error for the right words to spark rapport. These moments more than compensate for the occasional doldrums engendered by Ives’s delight in his own cleverness.