Frodo A-Go-Go: The Rings Recycled, Free Associates, at the Royal George Theatre Center. Like BS, the Free Associates’ improv parody of ER, this show created and directed by Robyn Okrant spoofs a popular phenom, the Lord of the Rings movies. And like all parodies, this one is funnier the better you know the original–I’d recommend seeing the two films beforehand.

Audience members are asked to supply an object of power in place of the original ring, the special power the object has, and how it can be destroyed by the “moppets.” Dressed perfectly as hobbits, elves, dwarves, and men by costume designer Rebekka Steiling, the cast set out on a loosely scripted, mostly improvised adventure to defeat the evil Cinnabon, represented by a giant nose instead of the frightening eye of the malicious Sauron. On opening night the result was sporadically funny but felt directionless and thin (the running time was supposed to be about 90 minutes, but the show came in at around 60–and still felt long). It may be that books and movies about odd creatures work only when they’re infused with a sense of gravity. Stripped of all seriousness, such stories are reduced to the silly fantasies they are.

Still, this kind of show can get funnier with time, as the cast find bits that work and continue to round out their characters and improve their chemistry.