- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

OPENING

• The Chairs Round House Theatre Silver Spring—. Alain Timar’s interpretation of Eugene Ionesco’s classic play casts a pair of young actors as an elderly man and woman who organize a reception for a group of imaginary dignitaries. Opens tomorrow.10/1444-1100.

• Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Warner Theatre.— Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biblically based musical features Patrick Cassidy as Joseph. Opens Tuesday.10/1897-SEAT.

m No Exit — Scena Theatre. The Sartre classic looks into the lives of three people who make their own hell in the afterlife. Opens Saturday at the Warehouse Next Door. 703/684-7990.

• You Are Here — Theater Alliance. One woman’s attempt to share with audience members how she became the actress they see before them. Opens tonight at the H Street Playhouse. 800/494-8497.

NOW PLAYING

• After Ashley— Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company— *** tar t and D.C. native Gina Gionfriddoes into our fascination with the preyed-upon in this brashly funny, disquieting play. Ashley Hammond, the wife of a Washington newspaper reporter and mother of a resentful 14-year-old, is• brutally raped and murdered by a man hired to do yardwork. Her son’s excruciating call to 911 makes him a celebrity, and her husband’s heart-tugging book, “After Ashley,” becomes a best-seller and springboard to a TV show with “tasteful” re-enactments of the cvcrimes, which Ashley’s husband hosts. The play vividly satirizes a society that claims to be horrified by violence, yet fetishizes its images. It’s overwritten and mines the same angry territory over and over again, but the characters are compelling and the agile cast members add nuance to their roles. Through SundayOct. 16. 202/393-3939. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

— —Aida***s Dinner Theatre .3 stars The Elton John-Tim Rice version of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera is a pastiche of Broadway belters, easy-listening rock ‘n’ roll and pop balladry. Yet the story of a princess caught between trying to save her people and her love for a conflicted Egyptian soldier packs an emotional wallop. Credit a deeply felt, wrenching performance by Felicia Curry as the Nubian-princess-turned-Egyptian-slave Aida, and equally affecting acting and singing by Russell Sunday as the soldier Radames and Janine Gulisano as Amneris, the third side of the tragic love triangle. Through Nov. 20. 301/596-6161. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

—• —*** Born Yesterdayandler Theater, Arena Stage • .3 Stars Arena’s flamboyant, fun production of Garson Kanin’s 1946 comedy evokes postwar America as a “can-do” country full of unlimited possibilities. It makes you believe that a junkyard baron who comes to Washington to buy a couple of senators who can help him gain global scrap metal domination can be bested by even unlikely forces for good namely, his ditzy blonde mistress and a good-guy reporter. Suli Holum gives a scene-stealing portrayal of dumb-blonde Billie and Jonathan Fried scarily captures the bullying menace of his junkyard scoundrel. The beguiling show makes you long for a time when good people triumphed over the craven and uncouth. Through Nov. 6. 202/488-3300. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.—

— Camille Round House Theatre Bethesda/• .2 ad a half stars Playwright Neil Bartlett returned to Alexandre Dumas’ fils’— original 1848 novel for his base version of “La Dame aux Camelias.” Dumas portrayed a money-mad, licentious world where champagne and drugs were in plentiful supply and women were sexual, mercenary creatures. Mr. Bartlett strips away even more of the tale’s romantic conventions in this adaptation, which puts a price tag on everyone and leaves no trace of romantic flourishes. Women are floozies, men are cads, scandal is all. The delicate beauty of Angela Reed as Marguerite contrasts with the character’s hearty, cursing style, while Aubrey Deeker as Armand seems almost too fragile to live. Their love scenes are animalistic and no-frills. It’s an unfettered, brutal version of “Camille” that strips away everything but meanness and avarice. Through Sunday Oct. 16—. 240/644-1100. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.***

ella • Imagination Stage —.3 stars — British playwright Charles Way’s take on this classic is set in 18th-century Germany yet has a modern sensibility. Cinderella, mourning her mother’s loss and forced to wait on her father’s new wife and her shrieking, high-maintenance new stepsisters, so wallows in grief she closes her eyes to all the opportunities in front of her **** including Prince Sebastian. The production is shot through with humor, with some blatantly comic moments. Even with realistic characters, it remains the classic tale of put-upon servant transformed into poised, empathetic princess. Through Nov. 6. 301/280-1660. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchardula Synetic Theater .— **** — The lobby walls of the Rosslyn Spectrum are dripping blood, strings of scarlet fabric oozing down to the floor. And Synetic Theater’s fever-dream vision of the Dracula legend delivers and then some in an erotic and highly charged production directed by Paata Tsikurishvilicq, with sensuous choreography by Irina Tsikurishvili. This is a perfect project for Synetic, bringing together the intrinsic theatricality of the vampire myth with the troupe’s original blend of movement, dance, spoken word, music and dazzling visuals. Not since the heyday of Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat novels have we seen such a sexy and epic look at the undead. You’ll start wishing they sold garlic necklaces at the concession stand. Through Oct. 30 at the Rosslyn Spectrum. 202/462-5364. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.

• Numberdio Thatre /2.three and one half stars— British playwright Caryl Churchill has a way of making the familiar frightening. A night-terror quality grips her newest work and lends the cliche “a chip off the old block” a threatening aura as the seedy Englishman Salter (Ted van Griethuysencq—) breaks it to his anguished son Bernard (Tom Story) that he, Bernard, is a clone, cooked up in a petri PetriSalter’s “original” son supposedly died. Moreover, there is not one, but at least 20 Bernards running around and Salter meets many of them. The virtuoso actors, directed with ferocious economy by Joy Zinoman, do a nimble dance • the elder fascinated and repelled by what he has made, the younger longing for identity and yet a breed apart from his creator. It’s a profound and confounding play that makes you question modern technologies and new societies seeking to “improve” on old ways of being. Through Sunday Oct. 16. 202/332-3300. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard

• — Othello—*** eare Theatre— — hree stars— In this emotionally charged new production, expertly directed by Michael Kahn, stars Avery Brooks and Patrick Page break new ground with their unconventional interpretations. Mr. Brooks’ brave portrayal of Othello is deep and comprehensive, adding sophistication and touching vulnerability to a seemingly two-dimensional character. Mr. Page as Iago conjures forth the icy instincts of a true psychopath, a loveless, guiltless individual caring little for the death and mayhem left in his wake. The ensemble cast adds notable heft. The result is a superb opening act for the company’s 2005-2006 season. Through Oct. 30. 202/547-1122. Reviewed by T.L. Ponick.

ion Play, a Cycle- Kreeger Theater, Arena Stage *** Young playwright Sarah Ruhl uses productions of the Passion Play from three different epochs Elizabethan England, 1934 Germany and the late-20th-century American Midwest as a frame to explore the inherent theatricality in politics and religion in this world-premiere three-play work. Molly Smith directs with a flair for both religious pomp and carnival-style hurly-burlycq, providing a potent visual stew of iconic and startlingly original imagery. Set designer Scott Bradley echoes traditional biblical and religious art in the use of the tableaux. The actors dive into the multiple permutations of their roles with relish, and all are superb. Robert Dorfman’s deft impersonations of famous figures Queen Elizabeth I, Adolf Hitler and Ronald Reagan are electrifying. The first two parts of the cycle are satisfying, but the third seems unfinished and raw, making the whole little more than a passing parade of human history, one that is all performance, no soul. Through SundayOct 16. 202/488-3300. Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS


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