- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

OPENING
Passion
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Musical about an Italian Army officer who has an affair with a married woman. Opens tomorrow. 202/467-4600.


NOW PLAYING
Big Love
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company ***. Charles L. Mee's play, based on Aeschylus' drama "The Suppliant Women" about 50 sisters pledged since birth to marry 50 brothers, their cousins is one wild toga party that goes off on contemporary tangents about love, masculinity, femininity and justice. The 50 sisters are represented by three who have escaped by boat from Greece on their wedding day and seek refuge in the Italian villa of a wealthy businessman. The grooms pursue them, and the women vow to murder them. This makes for an unusually action-packed reception. The actors hurl themselves into their roles with a mixture of slapstick, acrobatics, performance art and good, old-fashioned wrasslin'. Everything about "Big Love" is as understated as a clown shoe. Through Sunday at the Kennedy Center AFI Theater. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.
Crazy Love
Old Town Theater **1/2. Mark Anderson thinks comedy today is too raunchy. His antidote is this humorous celebration of the differences between men and women that illustrates the value of long-term commitment. Mr. Anderson, who plays a psychologist, and co-producer John Branyan, who plays his patient, share the stage for most of the production. Gilly Conklin plays the nurse. The whole show is essentially musical banter and a couple of monologues. But these guys are good at it. Through July 28. 703/535-8022. Reviewed by Jon Ward.
Danny and Sylvia
MetroStage **. MetroStage is remounting this American Century Theatre musical, about the life of singer-comedian Danny Kaye and his wife and principal writer, Sylvia Fine, as the final show of its season. The songs are mostly forgettable and the plot is thin. Janine Gulisano plays Sylvia. Brian Childers as Danny chews the scenery and overdoes the manic gesticulations. The show provides little more than some sight gags and silly accents. Through July 28. 703/548-9044. Reviewed by Eric M. Johnson.
The Full Monty
National Theatre ***1/2. Slick and snappy and full of more vim than Viagra, this Broadway musical with script by Terence McNally is on the third stop of its first national tour. It might be just be the spirited tonic Washington needs. There are bawdy jokes and belly laughs galore; the production could sell itself on energy alone. Made originally as a film (without music and ballyhoo), "Monty" is now set in Buffalo, N.Y., where a group of unemployed steelworkers try to earn some much-needed money by performing an amateur male striptease act. The bulk of its 2 hours consists of joking references to various portions of the male anatomy. Even so, there is nothing on view likely to surprise or offend immature audience members. You can't find a bad apple among the cast of 21. Yes, the cast members do bare their private parts but only the lighting engineers know for sure because of a clever, very fast, high-tech fade-out at the show's close. Through Sunday. 800/447-7400. Reviewed by Ann Geracimos.
Laughter at Ten O'Clock: Memories of the Carol Burnett Show
American Century Theatre **1/2. In the tradition of the classic TV comedy series whose taping it purports to re-create, this production provides humorous sketches without the irony of latter-day comedy. The play uses original scripts of many of the show's best known television skits, and is so silly it's funny. It takes its audience back to the 1970s not only through the comedy of Miss Burnett (Nancy Dolliver, who has mastered the comedian's famous facial expressions and body movements), but also through her sidekicks Harvey Korman (Bill Karukas) and Tim Conway (Bruce Alan Rauscher) and guest stars on the show. The play would be better off shorter, but most of the skits are funny. Through Saturday at Theatre on the Run. 703/553-8782. Reviewed by Jen Waters.
The Little Foxes
The Shakespeare Theatre **1/2. The Hubbard clan, the nouveau riche Southern family detailed in Lillian Hellman's play, gives greed a bad name. Miss Hellman's play is a melodramatic hoot meant to make us see the monsters in ourselves while watching the Hubbards plot and steal money from one another. But director Doug Hughes' production is almost camp, with nearly every line delivered with a sneer and a cast that gnaws on every stick of scenery. As long as you relax into the overwrought quality of the show, you can have a walloping good time. Through July 28. 202/547-1122. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.
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. The audience-participation murder-mystery farce (set in a Georgetown hair salon) is well-played, though, when the actors refrain from mugging and cracking up one another. Continues indefinitely. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Nelson Pressley.

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS



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