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A Mulholland Christmas Carol

Ten years after its debut, writer Bill Robens' hilarious holiday offering remains as satirically razor-sharp and relevant as ever. A live hoedown band serves up the musical landscape for a plot melding the basics of the Scrooge story with a historically based narrative about ruthless financiers who divert water from an agricultural community -- destroying the livelihood of the locals -- to an emergent Los Angeles. Christopher Neiman plays the petulant plutocrat, William Mulholland, who disdains the poor and can't spare a cup of water for a thirsty kid. Sporting a terrific-sounding brogue, Trevor H. Olsen invokes the younger Mulholland, who starts out kind and conscientious but turns corrupt and miserly along the way. A splendid ensemble -- teamwork at its finest -- sings, dances and acts through an endlessly diverse series of roles and riffs, illuminating class warfare and the cluelessness of the rich and selfish with incisive skill. Let not my admiration for the material's social and political critique discourage anyone; this is comic entertainment at its best. Notable production elements include Lindsay Martin's choreography and Kimberly Freed's eye-catching period costumes. Gene Michael Barrera is a standout as Poquito Pablito, the comedy's counterpart of Tiny Tim. Alina Phelan directs. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Dec. 16. (added perfs Sun., Dec. 23, 2 & 7 p.m.) (323) 856-8611, theatreofnote.com.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 & 7 p.m. Starts: Nov. 30. Continues through Dec. 16, 2012

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