- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2004


• Bad Girls III: The Redemption — Venus Theatre Company. One ensemble cast plays out five different short works by female playwrights. Opens tonight at the Warehouse Theater. 301/470-2406, Ext. 4.

• Lenny & Lou — Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Two neurotic brothers break free from their manipulative mother in this world-premiere comedy. Opens Monday at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. 800/494-8497.

• Venus — Olney Theatre Center for the Arts. A dancer lured by the romance of a traveling exhibition becomes a freak in a circus sideshow. Opens Tuesday. 301/924-3400.


• Mary’s Wedding — Theater Alliance — ****. Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte’s dreamlike, stunningly visual play portrays love during war with innocence, grace and finely tuned emotion. The production is further enlivened by beautifully etched performances by Kathleen Coons and Aubrey Deeker as the lovers, whose romance blossoms in the Canadian countryside just before World War I. Sets and soundscape are simple yet richly evocative. They don’t make love like this anymore. Through Sept. 5 at the H Street Playhouse. 800/494-8497. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

• The Producers — Kennedy Center Opera House — ***1/2. The feel-great Mel Brooks musical that won a record 12 Tony awards in 2002 arrives in Washington with all its jovial kitsch intact, and the bang-up team of Lewis J. Stadlen and Alan Ruck in the starring roles created by Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick on Broadway. Sieg-heiling pigeons, characters named Touch Me Feel Me and Carmen Ghia, an ersatz musical version of “Hamlet” and a song-and-dance extravaganza celebrating “Springtime for Hitler” are just some of its vulgar delights. What a relief to just laugh. Through Sunday. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

• The Tempest — The Keegan Theatre — **. A boatload of gimmicks threatens to swamp this production of Shakespeare’s last play, a storm-tossed work about nature versus civilization. Director Christopher Henley’s most skillful change is the casting of Jenifer Deal as Prospero, traditionally a male role. Miss Deal’s commanding height and brusque, take-no-prisoners delivery is ideal for Prospero. But Mr. Henley has also reversed the sexes of other characters, a bit of ostentatious gender-flipping that adds nothing but confusion. The production has its lively spots, but too often it is somnambular, placid and static, the bland before the storm. Through Aug. 29 at Clark Street Playhouse. 800/494-8497. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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