- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Deathtrap The Little Theatre of Alexandria. A playwright considers murder after getting writer's block in this dark comedy. Opens Friday. 703/683-0496.
Don Quixote Stanislavsky Theater Studio. An aging nobleman sets off on a quest to right the wrongs of the world. Opens tonight. 202/265-3748.
I Won't Be the Other Woman Warner Theatre. A man's overbearing mother comes to live with him and his wife after their son leaves for college. Opens Tuesday. 202/628-1818.
Killer Joe Metro Cafe. Cherry Red Productions stages this dark comedy about estranged family members plotting to murder their mother for insurance money. Opens tonight. 202/675-3071.
The Marriage of Figaro: The Las Vegas Version Clark Street Playhouse. Mozart's classic opera gets a zany adaptation in a late '60s Las Vegas casino setting. Opens Saturday. 202/237-9834.
The Race of the Ark Tattoo Studio Theatre. Matthew Maher transforms into different characters as he tells the stories behind his flea market wares. Opens Friday. 202/332-3300.


Grand Hotel Signature Theatre ** 1/2. The 1989 musical depicting the revolving-door lives and fortunes of guests in an elite European establishment gets the grubby, world-weary "Cabaret" treatment in this production, directed by Eric Schaeffer. Granted, the setting is 1928 Berlin, but some aspects of life were still light and hopeful then. The show boasts gorgeous singing. Yet in the end, the relentless starkness and desperation in all guises seen in this production make it more of the Bates Motel than "Grand Hotel." Through Oct. 7. 800/955-5566. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.
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 Sunday 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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