Head: The Brain That Wouldn't Die Musical

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Writer-composer-lyricist Kevin Fry wrote this raucous spoof of old horror flicks, loosely based on the 1962 B-movie "The Brain That Wouldn't Die." The protagonist is slightly mad scientist and would-be Dr. Frankenstein Bill Cortner (Charles St. Michael), whose taste for unorthodox medical experiments has led him to create a Creature (the shaved-headed and richly tattooed Chance Havens) so violent he must be confined to a cell.

Cortner's Igor-like assistant, Kurt (Mark Pinckney), urgently summons Cortner to his country house–cum-laboratory to deal with the increasingly restive Creature. Cortner sets out, accompanied by his horny fiancée, Jan (Stephanie Ann Saunders). When she recklessly insists on giving him a blowjob while he's trying to navigate a dark and winding road, he crashes the car. He's not harmed, but Jan is decapitated, and her body is incinerated. He keeps her head alive with his wonder serum and sets out to find a new body for her. The possible candidates (at The Body Beautiful Club) are the predatory vamp Seductra (Amber Faith), the bubble-headed Bambi Twins (Honor Nezzo and Epiphany), his old friend Jeannie (Becca Battoe), and old girlfriend–turned-lesbian Doris (Fiona Bates). But before Cortner can perform the necessary surgery, the Creature breaks loose.

Fry's songs are more serviceable than brilliant, and the piece is most successful when it sends up the tired horror movie conventions. Director L. Flint Esquerra makes the most of his opportunities, keeping the action lively and raunchy. St. Michael acts with abandon to provide an agreeably over-the-top performance. Saunders, as the indestructible head, demonstrates strong vocal chops, even when deprived of her body. Pinckney scores steady laughs as the frustrated Kurt, who's nursing a secret crush on Cortner. Battoe is a winsome and charming Jeannie, and her choreography almost bursts the bonds of the tiny space. Faith's Seductra is brassy and exhibitionistic, as she sings a song urging the audience to look at her rack. Bates is a sultry Doris, despite her fidelity to her (offstage) lesbian girlfriend. And Havens rampages enthusiastically as the uncouth Creature, who can be tamed only by a Ken doll.

Robert Shaw provides crisp musical direction, while Paul Koslo's clever, uncluttered set makes the most of the small venue, assisted by Alicia Ziff's atmospheric lighting. Prim souls may be disconcerted by the relentless vulgarity, but at the performance attended, an enthusiastic audience was eating it up.

Presented by and at the Great Scott Theatre at the Met Theatre, 1089 Oxford Ave., L.A. Dec. 18–Feb. 12. Fri., 9 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m. (323) 960-5770. www.plays411.com/headthebrain.