“Dr. Frankincense and the Christmas Monster” at the Write Act Repertory Theatre

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Messing with our brains? In Sean Abley’s “Dr. Frankincense and the Christmas Monster,” the mad (not E-V-I-L) scientist Dr. Frankincense (Brad Griffith) and his assistant Myrrh (Dylan Vox) hold the final key. Or do they?

Messing with our brains? In Sean Abley’s “Dr. Frankincense and the Christmas Monster,” the mad (not E-V-I-L) scientist Dr. Frankincense (Brad Griffith) and his assistant Myrrh (Dylan Vox) hold the final key. Or do they?

“Yardsale,” written and directed by Lisa Martin Capozzi, precedes Dr. Frankincense and is, in turn, preceded by caroling and juvenile jokes by pianist Brian Nassau. The highlight was “12 Days of Christmas” sung with audience participation.
“Yardsale” has no center and is made up of various scenarios: a DJ interviewing Frank Sinatra, a blond actress applying makeup for the Oscars with, maybe, her daughter attempting to sing “Summertime” and a bearded mystery man who silently intrudes on the action.
“Dr. Frankincense and the Christmas Monster,” written and directed by Sean Abley, is hugely inventive with high-energy and colorful characters. Dr. Frankincense is a misunderstood mad scientist (not an evil scientist) who is on trial before the Christmas Supreme Court, charged with attempting to ruin Christmas. To placate the townspeople and judges, he creates a benevolent Christmas Monster from the leftovers of Christmases past.
Strong performances are by Dr. Frankincense (Brad Griffith), his assistant Myrrh (Dylan Vox), Christmas Monster (Walker Davis) and Mrs. Evergreen (cute as a button Libby West). Stellar performances are Dr. White (Sam Hill, with a comedic style reminiscent of Dom Deluise), Mrs. Noel (Alexandra Billings, stealing every scene she’s in with her forceful personality) and Ghost of Christmas Past (Tchia Casselle, who stays in character as a perfect lush constantly drinking from her flask).
One of the funniest lines among many is when a judge asks Mrs. Noel if Billy is her only son. She answers with humorous intent, “Yes, he is the first Noel.”

“Dr. Frankincense and the Christmas Monster” is at the Write Act Repertory Theatre (6128 Yucca Avenue, Hollywood, CA). Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, ending December 19. Tickets are $15 with discounted rates of $10 for seniors, students and groups. For more information, call (323) 469-3113.

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