STIR-FRIDAY NIGHT! FLAKES: NOW FORTIFIED WITH INDIANS!, Stir-Friday Night!, at Phoenix Ascending Theatre. This Asian-American sketch-comedy troupe’s latest offering is a decidedly mixed bag. Some of the performances are awfully wobbly, and about a third of the scenes should have been left on the drawing board while another third need development. But the remainder of the material is hilarious and often fascinating–double-edged takes on ethnic stereotypes carried by smart, accomplished comic acting.

The cast gets a lot of mileage out of sheer exuberance; even the weakest bits–a domineering Indian father wielding a cell phone, a heartbroken Asian girl’s attempts to transcend her “inscrutability”–are executed so cheerfully it’s hard not to smile. The middling stuff–auditions for Saddam Hussein’s harem, a riff on ab-roller ads–is saved by the technique of standouts Rasika Mathur and Choky Lim. The best moments blend more balanced ensemble work with sharp, subtle satire: A “racial tolerance” class for shopkeepers ends with a short, striking monologue by Wayne Eji. A sketch about overly demanding Asian-American parents hits the mark from the moment the mother suggests her piano-hating son take up a more difficult instrument, the violin. And the show’s finale, a courtroom scene in which an Americanized daughter sues her embarrassingly ethnic mother, is terrific; Lim and Mathur are foregrounded but don’t dominate, and here the script is sharp enough to stand on its own. If only all of the show were this polished.

–Brian Nemtusak