- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2005


• Afterplay Studio Theatre—. This poignant play, set in a Moscow tearoom, brings two of Chekhov’s lost souls together in a love story infused with humor and sadness. Opens Wednesday.3/9/332-3300.

• The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? Arena Stage, Fichandler Theater—. Martin is a successful architect who has never loved anyone other than his wife, Stevie until he falls deeply in love with the mysterious Sylvia. Opens tomorrow.—3/4/488-3300.

• The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore The Washington Shakespeare Company.— An aging diva retires to the Italian coast to write her memoirs and is confronted with a handsome, mysterious hustler who carries the nickname “Angel of Death.” Opens tonight3/3the Clark Street Playhouse. 800/494-TIXS.

• You Never Can Tell The Washington Stage Guild—. George Bernard Shaw’s classic tale about a social pioneer who finds out that her theories have become old-hat. Opens tonight.3/3/582-0050.


• The All Night Strut! — Metro Stage— ** s• Conceived by Fran Charnas more than two decades ago, this music-and-dance revue is more of a wobble, a lackluster spin through popular songs of the 1920s through the ‘50s. It never quite takes off despite the energetic efforts of the four-member cast and director Thomas W. Jones II. There’s much to like, but the songs are over-produced to hammy excess, and the set seems low budget. It’s a viewing experience that often feels like it takes all night. Through March 27. 800/494-8497. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

— Black Milk — Studio Theatre h** Bile surges through Vassily Sigarev’sgent 2003 play aboutthe struggle of the spirit in post-Soviet Russia, a Wild West kind of place where the outlaws rule. In a grimy railway station in the provinces, husband-and-wife scam artists from Moscow try to get back to the city after successfully fleecing the local yokels. However, when massively pregnant wife Shura (a frightening Holly Twyford) bears their daughter, Shura goes soft on the locals who help her. Menacing husband Lyovchikcq• (Matthew MontelongoCQ, in an electrifying performance) beats her back to her harder self. If this is a parable of Russia, the country seems fated to be reborn in darkness. Through Sunday—March6—cq extended per Web site. 202/332-3300. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.ohmias • Classika Theatre —*** Paata Tsikurishvili—cq and his dancer-choreographer wife, Irina, have taken inspiration from the Bible, Greek mythology, modern art movements such as cubism and expressionism, and childhood games for a fast-paced, kinetic look at human history. Don’t try to figure out a plot in this wordless 70-minute meditation on man’s equal capacities for destruction and union. Just sink into this cinematic world of movement, wall-to-wall music and artful imagery. Through Sunday. 703/824-8060. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard. hildren’s Hour Rep Stage — —3 stars*** Lillian Hellman’s 1934 play was banned in Boston, Chicago and London in the 1930s for its veiled references to homosexuality. But the drama that grows from the viciousness of nasty, gossipy students at a girls’ prep school, who spread a false rumor that their two headmistresses are lesbians, remains riveting. Miss Hellman’s intent was not taboo thrills but to illuminate how social injustice, intolerance and falsehoods destroy the lives of good people. This taut and involving production emphasizes just how injurious a single lie can be. hrough March 13 at 10910 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. 410/772-4900. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

—• —Lorenzaccio The Shakespeare Theatre ** Musset’s 1833 romantic drama about politics, the Medici clan and the price of freedom was never meant to be staged, and it remains rather a mess. It’s stricken with intellectual and philosophical discourse and contains a droopy, lovesick title character, Lorenzo de Medici (Jeffrey Carlson), who teeters between moody despair and idealistic action. Local playwright John Strand attempts to stitch the disparate elements together, and the production, under the direction of Michael Kahn, is lush. The play is fraught with warring ideas that try to state everything but wind up saying nothing. Through SundayMarch 6. 202/547-1122. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.—

A Cajun Red Riding Hood — Imagination Stage ***1lf stars Washingtonian Joan Cushing wrote the book, music, and lyrics for this Tabasco-spiked musical adaptation of Mike Artell’s storybook, “Petit Rouge,” and this latest work finds her spirits high and her talent for infectious rhymes as sharp as ever. The production, which transforms the dark forest into a swamp on the bayou, is as snappy as a string of cayenne peppers. The vibrant score, a mix of Cajun, zydeco, Dixieland, gospel, jazz, and the blues, is infused with sounds from the fiddle, accordion, washboard, and harmonica, and the choreography features high-kicking routines. It’s a feast for the senses. Through April 3. 301/280-1660. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

• Two Gentlemen of Verona Arena Stage 3-1/2 Break out the love beads, and flash the peace sign at your neighbor. The Age of Aquarius returns in all its hippie dippy finery in director Irene Lewis’ staging of “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” in this Tony-winning musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play featuring music by “Hair” composer Galt MacDermot and trippy, witty lyrics by playwright John Guare. “Two Gentlemen” boasts a mostly mellow rock score, heavy on harmonies that put you in mind of the Mamas and the Papas and the Beach Boys. Miss Lewis and an engaging, enormously talented cast strive to strike an innocent mood indicative of a time before irony and cynicism became the zeitgeist. Through March 27 at 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. 410/332-0033. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

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