- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004


• The King and I —The Filene Center at Wolf Trap. Sandy Duncan stars in this new production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Opens Tuesday. 703/255-1900.

• Macbeth — Shakespeare Theatre. Kelly McGillis is the ambitious Lady Macbeth in the Bard’s dramatic tale about the fall of the once-noble King Macbeth. Opens Tuesday.202/547-1122.


• Betrayal — Fountainhead Theatre — **The thing about Harold Pinter plays, to borrow from Spencer Tracy’s assessment of Katharine Hepburn in the film “Pat and Mike,” is that there isn’t much meat on their bones, but what there is is choice. Spare, cruel and mordantly funny, Mr. Pinter’s plays, like Miss Hepburn, need little adornment. They do need actors who can handle the rhythms and resonance of Mr. Pinter’s clipped, touchstone dialogue, and not much else. That is why you question the choices of director Sarah Denhardt, who stages a distractingly accessorized production of “Betrayal” for the Fountainhead Theatre. Your first clue that the director is not comfortable with the material is the bouncy Beatles love tunes you hear while waiting for the show to start, as well as upbeat pop heartsongs from the 1970s and 1980s that punctuate every scene change. This is a play about a long-term adulterous affair between a man and a woman who happens to be married to the guy’s best friend, so the “all you need is love” sentiments of Lennon and McCartney seem woefully out of place. Through Sept. 11 at Fountainhead Theatre at Theatre on the Run, 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

• 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 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. However, Mr. Henley also has 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 somnambulant, placid and static, the bland before the storm. Through Sunday at Clark Street Playhouse. 800/494-8497. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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