- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2002

OPENING The Shape of Things - Studio Theatre. An art student sets about to change a museum guard who falls in love with her in Neil Labute's dark comedy. Opens Tuesday. Nov. 19th. 202/332-3300.

NOW PLAYING Death and the Maiden - Theater J ***. This ball of anxiety raises an all important question: Does vengeance give closure? A satisfying answer is never given - maybe because there is none. But during the two-hour play, philosophical and emotional meanderings about forgiveness versus retribution give us plenty to think about - even the next day. Paulina Escobar, played skillfully by Paula Gruskiewicz, was tortured many years ago, during a repressive regime in an unnamed South American nation. By an unbelievable coincidence she captures her torturer. What will she do with this opportunity will she avenge or turn the other cheek? Through Dec. 1. 202/777-3229. Reviewed by Gabriella Boston.
Kiki and Herb in Pardon Our Appearance — Woolly Mammoth Theatre — ***1/2. Kiki (Justin Bond) and her weepy piano player Herb (Kenny Mellman) are two veteran entertainers who have barreled their way through the decades, growing boozier but certainly not more mellow by the year. They haul us through the best of the '70s up to present day in this decidedly off-kilter evening that is wildly and inappropriately hysterical. Think Steve and Eydie with an anger management problem. But under Doug Wright's direction "Kiki and Herb" becomes more than campy spoof. If you like your humor sharp and disturbing, "Kiki and Herb" is one act you definitely want to catch. Through Sunday at the Source. 202/393-3939. 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. File review by Nelson Pressley

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