- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2006

OPENING

Cabaret — Arena Stage. Clifford Bradshaw, a young American journalist, lands at the notorious Kit Kat Club and falls in love with English entertainer Sally Bowles in pre-WWII Berlin. Opens tomorrow. 202/488-3300.

Frankenstein — Synetic Theater. A stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s gothic horror story. Opens Wednesday at Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. 202/467-4600

A Prayer For Owen Meany — Round House Theatre Bethesda. Adapted from the John Irving novel, this is the story of John Wheelwright and his friendship with Owen Meany, a man who claims to be a messenger of God. Opens Wednesday. 240/640-1100.

Spinning Into Butter — Journeyman Theatre Ensemble. When a black student begins receiving hate mail, the campus erupts as faculty and students try to prove their tolerance by condemning one another. Opens tomorrow at the Clark Street Playhouse. 202/669-7229.

NOW PLAYING

In the Continuum — Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company — ***1/2. Woolly Mammoth’s new season gets off to a commanding start with Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter’s soaring and grave look at how AIDS affects two very different young black women in Los Angeles and Zimbabwe. An embracing, perceptive and funny work directed by Robert O’Hara, it seeks to redress — without being an overbearing message play — the theater world’s neglect of the devastation the virus has visited upon heterosexual women. Although continents apart, both Abigail (Miss Gurira) and Nia (Miss Salter) are left alone to face not only their HIV/AIDS diagnosis, but also the censure the disease brings from ignorant people. The play is quietly shattering in the way it portrays the reality of many black women grappling with AIDS. Through Sept. 24. 202/393-3939. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead — Longacre Lea — *. This steady production of Tom Stoppard’s first full-length play fails to set off major fireworks, yet the playwright’s mind gymnastics still retain the elasticity displayed when the show premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1966. A trippy amalgam of “Waiting for Godot,” “Hamlet,” and “Six Characters in Search of a Playwright,” “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern” reveals the young Mr. Stoppard brewing up his now-trademark blend of verbal ping-pong, witty philosophical digressions and eccentric theatrical settings that would have a surrealist staring moodily into a fur-lined teacup.The lightning-fast wordplay between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern largely lacks oomph, and the bits of improvised clowning between the pair have a tendency to lay an egg. Through Sunday at Longacre Lea at the Callan Theatre, Catholic University, 3801 Harewood Road NE. 202/460-2188. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

Son of a Bush — Gross National Product —**. Gross National Product’s new political comedy show is a sometimes endearingly low-tech deflation of inside-the-Beltway maneuvers, election-year posturing and the Bush administration. A lot of the political humor is about as fresh as a Tricky Dick impression. GNP does not bring anything new to the table, instead resorting to Mr. Cheney’s gun mishaps and Bushisms we have seen parodied a million times before. If you’re going to pick an easy target, make sure you can hit it at least some of the time. Through Oct. 9 at the Warehouse Theater. 202/783-7212. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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