Saturday, December 3, 2016

Holy Mo, a Christmas Show, by Lucia Frangione

Holy Mo, A Christmas Show by Lucia Frangione, playing from Dec. 2- Dec 31 at the Pacific Theatre 12th and Hemlock is promoted as a ‘reverently irreverent re-imagining of the Nativity’.  In notes from the playwright, Lucia writes that she first wrote the play Holy Mo with Rene Joshi and Marie Anderson 24 years ago.  She describes it as ‘zero budget and three fools’.
In the play the Hebrew people are the Heebees and Herod is the King of the Juices, the Babylonians are the Babblers and the Romans are the Row Mans.  It’s very avant garde and performance art with hilarious twists and great costume changes. I really believe the wagon should get set design of the year award for originality and multiple use.
This is just the latest version of Holy Mo. I really believe that I’ve seen it three times and Lucia mentioned the 1997 version which really blew my socks off. I was talking about it to friends for weeks.  This is a totally re written one in which I personally think the Magnifi - Cat takes the show.
Kerry Van Der Griend is the director of the three stars,  Folly played by Lucia Frangione, Buffoona played by Jess Amy Shead, and Guff played by Anita Wittenberg.  It’s an amazing work of chaos and order that comes off as theatre just when one thinks the whole thing is about to dissolve into madness.
I loved the advent candles.  The songs throughout were grand to beautiful. It really could be termed a musical if the songs were not so brief. Row Man was my favourite with all the audience participation and the sense of being at a hockey rink
Yet there was the Story.  In the midst of all the fun and laughter the story is retold.  I liked that.  I really could see Holy Mo over and over again. It’s like  Handel’s Messiah to me in that way.  A special addition to my Advent season that reminds me of what really does matter at Christmas.  I think every Christian adult and child should see Holy Mo. Obviously non Christians would enjoy it but the subtleties or not so subtle subtleties such as  Maggie, the Magi, would be lost on anyone who doesn’t already know the story.  That doesn't hurt Alice in wonderland. Still I’d suggest at least a reading of the original before attending for anyone not cognizant of who Manny might be.
Thank you for another wonderful play experience, Lucia.
(It was also great for Laura and I to see our young friends Kevin and Anna and Hannah and Caleb, both couples whose beautiful church weddings were so unforgettable. )
(John Fluevog’s Shoes ( is one of the many supporting advertisers.  Laura thinks Fluevog’s Shoes situated on Granville Street are the finest in Vancouver.  She calls them “works of art”,  so I’ve offered to buy her a pair,  given they support the finest theatre in Vancouver.)
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