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A certain Seuss echoed in 'Jeuss'

THEATER BEAT

December 23, 2005|David C. Nichols

"A Dr. Jeuss Christmas" arrives just in time to trash seasonal kids' fare, completely in rhyme. This ruthlessly renegade holiday spoof sends up Dr. Seuss as it raises the roof.

The script is the work of an author unnamed, who riffs on Ted Geisel with wit that's untamed. On Katherine Morrison's weirdly warped set, it's one day to Christmas, but don't relax yet.

Meet the degenerate Fitzgivens tots, who spout twisted verses and think scary thoughts. Dear Tammy and Sammy, they couldn't feel drearier (and not because Mom has a clown-sized posterior).

They hate awful Simon T. Mulberry-Pew, a rich Fauntleroy whom they're soon to undo. For after a plastic-bag game they contrive, Simon's the one who grows less alive.

But the wild, woolly Whizzit, with leering-brogue voice, helps out the Fitzgivens (who don't have much choice). More surprises await! Some are stinky, some great! To give them away would invite Simon's fate!

Fun's had by director John Mitchell and team, with M.E. Dunn's costumes a particular scream. The Sammy and Tammy of Ryan Schwartzman and Christiane Cannon are both of them expert at deadly deadpannin'.

Jason Frazier as Simon hits full-throttle camp, while Samuel Rhymes' Mom is a John Waters tramp. Christopher Carrington's spry Christmas icon and Matt Garland's fake beast can take any tyke on.

C.M. Gonzalez as a robot named Galaxus convulses the house right off its axis. With mad Mikal Hanna's mute Mumpus in tow, Russ Jones as the Whizzit just plain steals the show.

These wackos hatch outrages "South Park" would covet, with hambone aplomb that reveals how they love it. The Sacred Fools treatment, a balm for cracked ids, offsets Yuletide sugar -- but don't bring the kids.

*

"A Dr. Jeuss Christmas," Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hollywood. 8 p.m. today, Thursday and next Friday. Ends next Friday. Adult audiences. $20. (310) 281-8337. Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.

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