- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2002

Eat Your Heart Out Omaemoda Productions. Comedy about a struggling actor who waits tables in New York City while waiting for his big break. Opens tomorrow at Playbill Cafe. 866/841-9139, ext. 2572.
The Learned Ladies Catalyst Theater. Moliere's satire about the chaos caused when two parents argue over whom their daughter should marry. Opens Wednesday at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. 202/547-6839.

Anthems: Culture Clash in the District Kreeger Theater, Arena Stage **1/2. Richard Montoya and the comedy/theatrical group called Culture Clash offer a joyous and thoughtful examination of a city interrupted by the harrowing events of September 11. A series of often hilarious vignettes, the play is based on the writers' real-life attempts to chronicle the District. However, the creators gorge on far too much history, and the story becomes a maladroit mix of comedy and political satire. Through Oct. 13. 202/488-3300. Reviewed by Christian Toto.
Coffee With Richelieu
Olney Theatre Center **1/2. Starbucks and swashbuckling collide in Norman Allen's fun, witty and rather pointless play, a variation on "The Three Musketeers" where the cardinal gets the spotlight. The cast, under Jim Petosa's expert direction, has a grand old time prancing around in Lonnie Fullerton's costumes, which look to have come directly from the MGM back lot and the almost campy opulence of Harry Feiner's set. They tread nimbly between absurdity and ambiguity, Paul Morella's delicately vile portrayal of Richelieu leading the way. He is well matched by Valerie Leonard as the supremely sexy and amoral seductress Milady. Jerry Richardson is fetchingly boyish as D'Artagnan, and James Slaughter ably portrays two aspects of decadence in his roles as Porthos and King Louis XIII. There is great fun to be had as long as you quit worrying that the show doesn't make a blessed bit of sense. Through Sunday. 301/924-3400. 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 Sept. 28. 703/535-8022. Reviewed by Jon Ward.
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.
The Winter's Tale
Shakespeare Theatre **1/2. Discussions of whether Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" is a tragedy, a comedy, a romance or a problem play are dispelled during the first act of this production, directed by Michael Kahn. It is simply an ordeal. The production's sluggish pulse quickens once we are whisked from the airless and cheerless Sicilia, with its death trap of a set, to the flower-bedecked Bohemia, but throughout the cast seems quite reserved. Everyone seems to be racing through the denouement, just wanting to get it over with. This a handsome production, but one that exudes a pale fire. And that makes it a long "Winter" indeed. Through Oct. 20. 202/547-1122. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.

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