- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

NOW PLAYING

Jerry Springer: The OperaStudio Theater — ★★★ This British import, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before enjoying a sold-out run in the West End, manages to be filthier than the talk show itself — and that’s saying something. That’s not to say the high-energy, blasphemous show should be avoided — quite the contrary because the nervy cast is exceptional, and it’s not every day you see tap-dancing Ku Klux Klansmen. Just know before you go that the sleaze bar is set pretty high. Through Aug. 31. 202/332-3300.

The Lion KingKennedy Center — ★★★ This juggernaut of a musical is crammed with scenery, action, vibrant lighting effects, actors tumbling through space, musical power, an orchestra in the pit, a drummer on each side of the stage, belt-it-out soloists and a chorus, with most of the music by Elton John. Whether you’re enthralled by this Disney extravaganza probably will depend on your view of the Disney franchise. Through Aug. 24. 202/467-4600

Marat/SadeForum Theatre at H Street Playhouse — ★★★ Change and whip cracks electrify the air in this production, teetering on the edge of madness under the direction of Michael Dove. Combining delirious visual imagery and an original score by Jesse Terrill, this musical retelling of the French Revolution makes you think the world might be better off if the lunatics ran the asylum. “Marat/Sade” takes place in 1808, with the Marquis de Sade (an elegant Jonathon Church) overseeing his controversial and frequently mutinous work about the death of revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat (Danny Gavigan), stabbed in the heart by Charlotte Corday (Katy Carkuff) while in the bath. The cast is disturbingly convincing as the asylum’s mental patients, especially Eric Messner as the twitchy and impassioned radical Jacques Roux, the sweetly drowsy Miss Carkuff as Corday, and Parker Dixon’s antsy, stalker performance as Corday’s lover. Through Sunday. 202/489-1701

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

Compiled by Jayne Blanchard and Jean Battey Lewis

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