"The Callers" is a quirkily entertaining (and potty-mouthed) world-premiere musical about phone sex and phone psychic workers, produced by Washington Ensemble Theatre.

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First you notice the phones. There are a couple dozen in a rainbow assortment of bright and pastel colors.

They are all outre wall models, with long wiggly cords (remember those?), and they are all around the black-box Little Theatre on Capitol Hill.

Those plastic wonders are not the only thing retro about “The Callers,” the goofy new pop musical premiered by Washington Ensemble Theatre.

The show’s appealingly derivative score is a hodgepodge of vintage musical styles: there’s Broadway razzamataz, old-school rap, ’80s-style power ballads, a smidge of Sondheim here and a dash of doo-wop there.

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But in other respects it’s hard to imagine “The Callers” in any era but the present. When else would one find a cheerfully potty-mouthed (and definitely R-rated) rom-com-ish tuner about phone sex workers — like a raunchier “Glee” overlaid with a supernatural psychodrama?

Staged with ingenuity and splash by Andrew Russell, and performed with wacky conviction by a cast that sings, dances and talks dirty, “The Callers” is both ridiculous and entertaining. Or entertainingly ridiculous, and surprisingly sweet. Just don’t expect it to make a point (or even a whole lot of sense).

Most absurd is the kinked-up plot, focusing on two roomies, Bea (Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako) and Emma (Kate Sumpter). Both are in mourning for lost loved ones, and employed as, ahem, what can be technically described as audio erotic performers.

Though their very sexually explicit chatter with callers is patently fake, somehow these gals are suckers themselves for another phone racket: a psychic hotline claiming to put people in touch with the deceased. It’s manned by the devilish blade Viktor (Ali el-Gasseir, oozing a sleazebag’s smarmy bravado), and the shy, nebbishy novice Kevin (Richard Andriessen).

Composed with panache by Andriessen, with a slapdash script by Ella Dorband and el-Gasseir, the show is most disarming when the versatile eight-member ensemble sings out the enjoyable grab-bag score with quirky self-accompaniment on piano, guitar, mandolin, etc.

Nako is a find, with her natural aplomb and a big, blues-tinged voice that easily fills the room. Andriessen also emerges as a nimble house pianist whose clear, strong singing pipes can handle anything the score throws at him. And when the gags click, the lanky Sumpter and others score laughs.

What throws off the idiosyncratic rhythms of “The Callers” is the book. One doesn’t expect intricate psychology here, but that doesn’t mean we should know next to zilch about the main characters apart from their obsessions with phones and ghosts.

The banter (both naughty and clean) is a mixed bag: some frisky-fresh, and some (particularly the girl-chat between glum Bea and daffy Emma) sitcom-stale or just coarse.

The woozy zigzags of the schizoid plot are part of the fun here. Yet when the authors attempt a left-field whammy with a surprise ending, the sap content rises.

“The Callers” should attract a cult following in Seattle — though if a future life is planned, some vigorous revision is in order. What the production does prove is that WET can marshall the right director, composer and actors to pull off their own offbeat version of a song-and-dance extravaganza.

Note: WET is also branching out in another direction to present its first children’s show, “Urban Tanaki Samurai,” which plays weekend matinees, Saturday-Feb. 5.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com