Orlando Fringe 2024 review: 'How the Grinch Killed Christmas: A WHO-dunnit Parody'

In classic whodunit fashion, each character gets interrogated as to their motive and opportunity.

The cartoon characters of Theodore Geisel’s beloved Christmas chestnut are right in the middle of another annual holiday Who-bilation, as their flask-swinging Narrator (Kristen Lichtenthal) struggles to slur through the Seussian verse. But just before they can carve the roast beast and be done with it for another year, the Grinch's grisly green corpse is discovered entombed inside Whoville's hallowed Christmas tree.

In classic whodunit fashion, each character in "How the Grinch Killed Christmas" gets interrogated in turn as to their motive and opportunity, starting with dishy decorator Martha May (Elisabeth Christie), her whomosexual assistant (Samuel Spare) and her fiancé, the town's Mayor (Spencer LaBelle). And don't overlook not-so-little Cindy Lou (Lelia Harland) and her peppy parents (Jerry Jobe Jr., Hilary Kelly).

Written by Elisabeth Christie with Bryan Cantrell and director Jonathan Barreto, the show has solid production values and starts strongly, promising to have more polish than the average Fringe parody. I appreciated how they explicitly evoked my all-time favorite, Clue, down to the multiple-choice endings and signature quips, as well as a running gag that nobody seems able to point correctly.

Unfortunately, the exculpatory exposition drags on ridiculously long, as does the fourth wall-breaking finale. Park-and-bark blocking rarely takes full advantage of the large thrust stage, so the venue’s vastness vacuums up lots of the laughs. And though you can’t claim the game cast lacks enthusiasm, their high-strung shoutiness eventually grows tiresome. However, if trimmed to under an hour, this could be a great fit for an I-Drive dinner theater.

Orlando Fringe: Tickets and times for "How the Grinch Killed Christmas: A WHO-dunnit Parody"
Event Details
Location Details

Orlando Family Stage

1001 E. Princeton St., Orlando Central

407-896-7365

orlandofamilystage.com

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