O.C.Y.C.’s Volume Five: Pomp, O.C.Y.C. Productions, at Heartland Studio Theater. Cross the paranoid delusions of Thomas Pynchon with the slaphappy sensibilities of Tex Avery and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what drives this five-member troupe. Taking sketch comedy to ambitious, anarchic extremes, Pomp is the fifth installment in an epic six-part series that chronicles the adventures of a group of ninjas, terrorists, superintelligent monkeys, and mutant talking cows. But despite a one-page synopsis of past episodes in the program, references to the overarching narrative remain opaque.

Pomp can be infuriating, but when the troupe abandons its smarter-than-thou posturing the results are generally entertaining. Scenes depicting the private lives of two CTA drivers, an extended parody of Scooby-Doo, and the skewering of a television broadcaster who offers his personal seal of approval to affirmative action and other liberal policies provide a fresh perspective on pop culture and politics. And a skillful mix of video and sound clips weaves together fairly seamlessly the script’s more scattershot elements and its self-contained comic bits. But on the whole the scenes suffer from a lack of development. O.C.Y.C.’s ongoing series is a novel idea–too bad that a real appreciation of Pomp hinges so dramatically on a working knowledge of the earlier episodes. –Nick Green