- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2007

OPENING

{bullet} Jesus Christ Superstar — Wolf Trap Filene Center. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera chronicling the last week of Jesus Christ’s life. Opens tomorrow. 703/255-1860.

{bullet} Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins — Studio Theatre. The story of a singer whose voice made her a legend — for her complete lack of pitch and rhythm. Opens Wednesday. 202/332-3300.

NOW PLAYING

{bullet} Ennio — Arena Stage — ***. The art of Italian clown Ennio Marchetto is a goofball pastiche of origami, pantomime and high camp, and this one-man show is a child’s sticker book brought to colorful life, with Mr. Marchetto as the biggest paper doll of them all. With reams of paper, bits of strategically placed Velcro and some tissue, Mr. Marchetto whips us willy-nilly through 20th-century pop culture by transforming himself into its icons, from Sinatra to Madonna and the whole drag-queen pantheon. The show rarely goes beyond the level of novelty, but it’s fast-moving, mindless fun — and just when you think you can’t endure one more set of bouncy fake breasts made out of construction paper, it’s over. Through Sunday. 202/488-3300.

{bullet} Peter & Wendy — Arena Stage — ***. Mabou Mines’ production of J.M. Barrie’s novel, adapted with a breathless sense of wonder by Liza Lorwin, underscores the melancholy and poignant aspects of that tale of enchantment and stolen children. It”s brooding and profoundly magical. Karen Kandel, a narrator of infinite grace and nimbly comic voices, tells the story surrounded by veiled puppeteers, the whole set to Celtic music. The charm of the three-hour piece wears thin in scenes, and some of the puppetry manipulation is awkward, but it’s a heady, cerebral experience on many levels. Through June 24. 202/488-3300.

{bullet} Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead — Studio Theatre — **1/2. Feelings of deja vu turn quickly to moments of fresh delight in this 40th anniversary revival of Tom Stoppard’s brainiac existential comedy about two minor characters from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” waiting in the wings for all eternity. A masterful centerpiece performance by veteran actor Floyd King as the Player King is enhanced by a fantastic supporting cast of tragedians. Yet the portrayals of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are almost generic interpretations, and the production overall seems as airless and trapped as the main characters themselves. Through July 1. 202/332-3300.

{bullet} The Tempest — Folger Theatre — ***. This unusual production, directed by Aaron Posner, features highly evocative special effects and fiddles with the cast of characters, almost eliminating comic figures to focus better on the principals. It’s a thoughtful evening of theater, presenting the Bard’s work as a moral, if ambiguous, treatise on peace, acceptance and forgiveness. Veteran Shakespeare fans will miss the emotional piquancy they have come to expect in this play. Through June 17. 202/544-7077. — T.L. Ponick

{bullet} 13 Rue de L’Amour — Olney Theatre Center — *. Jeffries Thaiss, Lawrence Redmond, Nick de Pinto and Halo Wines add pizazz to Georges Feydeau’s poufless and insipid French farce about the infidelities of well-to-do couples and their paramours. But their talents cannot resuscitate a show that never manages to elicit even a soupcon of laughs. It’s a classic case of a bad play happening to good actors. Through Sunday. 301/924-3400. MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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