- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

Agamemnon and His Daughters Arena Stage. A new adaptation tells the the epic Greek tale of murder, love and revenge set during and after the Trojan War. Opens Friday. 202/488-4377.
Bee-Luther-Hatchee Theater of the First Amendment. An editor tracks down the elusive author of a best-selling autobiography. Opens Wednesday. 703/218-6500.
The Dispute Black Box Theater at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. An experimental Garden of Eden is created in this comedic story to find out whether men or women are more faithful. Opens Wednesday. 202/547-6839.
A Life in the Theatre Source Theatre. David Mamet's tale follows a veteran actor who guides a young rookie through a season of repertory theater. Opens Wednesday. 202/462-1073.
Problem Child Round House Theatre. A young couple seeks the help of a seedy motel clerk to reclaim their daughter from a foster home. Opens Wednesday. 301/217-3300.

Late Nite Catechism West End Theatre - ***. The chalkboard is littered with terms such as "Immaculate Conception," "stigmata," "Easter duty," "limbo" and "purgatory," and the classroom is filled with people of all ages. Jodi Capeless stars as the instructor in this motley classroom, in which audience members serve as the students. She combines doses of the rigid discipline of the habit pre-1950s with some 21st-century understanding, if not tolerance. She isn't quite brusque enough, though. Despite its shortfalls and much of the script's predictability, "Catechism" offers a refreshing, somewhat lighthearted look at otherwise serious subject matter. Through Sept. 16. 703/573-SEAT, 202/432-SEAT or 301/808-6900. Reviewed by Stephanie K. Taylor.
The Pirates of Penzance Interact Theatre Company ***. This production, also billed as "The Picaroons of the Potomac," is a summer treat although it takes a while to get its first act together. "Pirates," written in 1879, is one of the best-loved Gilbert and Sullivan scores. Catherine Flye, the director as well as Interact's artistic director, has set the play in late-18-century Virginia instead of late-19th-century England. Thus, Maj. Gen. Stanley becomes Gen. Boshington, who lives at Vernon Castle in Alexandria. (Get it?) The pirates no longer are from Penzance, but from Potomac. The policemen are turned into militiamen dressed up like British infantrymen, red coats and all. This does not detract from the play, but it doesn't add much, either. Although he suffers under a questionable makeup job, Andrew Wynn's Boshington is the comedic center of the play. Through Sept. 9 at the Folger Theatre. 703/218-6500. Reviewed by Eric M. Johnson.
Shear Madness Kennedy Center Theater Lab **. This corny, hokey tourist trap now in its second decade is doubly maddening because the Kennedy Center displays it as art to the cultural center's unsuspecting pilgrims. But the audience-participation murder-mystery farce (set in a Georgetown hair salon) is well-played when the actors refrain from mugging and cracking up one another. The audience rambunctiously analyzes evidence and chooses the murderer in this campy, shtick-filled goof. Continues indefinitely. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Nelson Pressley.

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