- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2003


• The Borderland Trumpet Vine Theatre Company. The wife of a blue collar worker seeks refuge in her wealthy neighbor's home during a dark and stormy night in suburban Atlanta. Opens tonight at Theatre on the Run. 703/912-1649.

• The Good Thief Scena Theatre. First-person encounter with a charming but brutal Dublin hit man on the run. Opens Tuesday. 703/684-7990.

• The Grey Car Kennedy Center AFI Theater. A union of two distant geographies of thought: the strict and traditional Japanese and the spontaneous Mexican. Tomorrow and Saturday. 202/467-4600.

• Henry V Washington Shakespeare Company. The ne'er-do-well son of a king changes his colors when he assumes power and takes his people to war. Opens tonight at Clark Street Playhouse. 703/418-4808.

• The Return to Morality Rep Stage. A professor hangs himself when he markets a satirical fiction book as non-fiction. Opens tomorrow at Smith Theatre, Howard Community College. 410/772-4900.

• Statements Gunston Arts Center Theater Two. A lonely prisoner must choose between truth and falsehoods in his daily written statements. Tomorrow and Saturday as part of the 6th International Festival of Hispanic Theater. 202/882-6227.


• Dames at Sea Olney Theater Center ***. The 1969 musical "Dames at Sea" is a spoof of all those Busby Berkeley tap-dance extravaganzas of the 1930s, like "42nd Street." In it, a young girl from Utah comes to New York and, in the space of 24 hours, gets a part in a Broadway show, falls in love with a songwriting sailor from her hometown and winds up stealing the spotlight from the witchy leading lady. It is all pure escapism and gee-willikers optimism, and this sparkly revival delivers it with brisk aplomb from a top-notch cast. Any more pertness could give your dimples a cramp, but enjoy the empty calories and move on. Through March 30. 301/924-3400. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.

• Intimate Apparel The Head Theater ***. Lynn Nottage's delicately wrought, but surprisingly strong new play centering on a gifted black seamstress (Shane Williams) in 1905 Manhattan whose features are as plain as her needlework with lace, whalebone, satin and silk is exquisite. Externally confident, she is filled with low self-esteem, and at 35 fears going through life without a husband. When a worker on the Panama Canal from Barbados (Kevin Jackson) fuels her romantic dreams with swoony letters from Central America, she pins all her fantasies on him. He turns out to be not only ordinary but clumsy on their wedding night. At its core, this is a play about intimacy. The performances are deeply grounded. Director Kate Whoriskey's production is sensitive, and costume designer Catherine Zuber and set designer Walt Spangler buttress the importance of fabrics, textiles and lingerie to the play's ambience. Through March 30 at CenterStage, Baltimore. 410/332-4240. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.

• Jump/Cut Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company **1/2. Neena Beber's new play, a funny and troubling work directed by Leigh Silverman in a co-production between Woolly Mammoth and Theater J, centers on whether a person has a right to end his life, and whether loved ones should intervene. The playwright plays with the audience a bit, lulling it into thinking it is watching a savvy romantic comedy before delivering the jab to the conscience in the second act. That jab packs an emotional whammy. In seriously addressing the issue of sanctioned suicide, the play dives into provocative areas, but it lacks shape, perspective and conviction. In its desire to merely present all sorts of ideas and emotions, it ultimately fails the audience. Through March 30 at the Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, DC Jewish Community Center. 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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