CUPID ON THE DOWN LOW, Cupid Players, at ImprovOlympic. The Cupid Players’ arch integration of musical theater idioms offers a hook that’s always extended beyond mere gimmickry, and director-accompanist Brian Posen has a knack for ferreting out local talent. They can carry a tune, sweat out a dance routine–and, even more impressive, collaborate on compelling songs. A retrospective playing at ImprovOlympic on Friday nights, Cupid Is as Cupid Does, offers well-oiled material and a good introduction to the Cupid Players’ simple yet persuasive charms.

By contrast the group’s disappointing latest effort, Cupid on the Down Low, seems aimless, lacking in narrative structure–for which Posen apologizes in his director’s note. Though the working premise is “what each artist is dealing with in their lives,” and each of the show’s 11 scenes stands on its own merits, they don’t fit together as a whole. Even musical theater that’s outgrown the form’s conventions–Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together, say–still revolves around some unifying conceit. Cupid on the Down Low honors the Cupid Players’ history of superlative presentation but leaves in doubt the troupe’s reputation for fun musical revues with a central theme.