- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

OPENING

• Girl in the Goldfish Bowl — MetroStage. A look at life in 1962 through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl and a stranger who washes up on the beach. Opens Wednesday. 703/548-9044.

NOW PLAYING

• An Enemy of the People — Shakespeare Theatre Company — ***. Olney Theatre presented “Enemy” during the summer in a production that captured the fierce diatribe energy of Henrik Ibsen’s play, a staged political pamphlet exploring the venality of small towners who discover that the “healing” waters of their money-making public baths are toxic. The Shakespeare Theatre’s translation is leaner and more honed and cruelly funny than the summer’s version. The speechifying has been edited, the problematic handling of the female characters has been resolved and the optimism of the ending has been excised. The pared-down quality extends to the performances, which are consistently high and trimmed of excess. Through Oct. 22. 202/547-1122. Jayne Blanchard

• In the Continuum — Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company — ***1/2. Woolly Mammoth’s new season gets off to a commanding start with Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter’s soaring and grave look at how AIDS affects two very different young black women in Los Angeles and Zimbabwe. An embracing, perceptive and funny work directed by Robert O’Hara, it seeks to redress — without being an overbearing message play — the theater world’s neglect of the devastation the virus has visited upon heterosexual women. Although continents apart, both Abigail (Miss Gurira) and Nia (Miss Salter) are left alone to face not only their HIV/AIDS diagnosis, but also the censure the disease brings from ignorant people. The play is quietly shattering in the way it portrays the reality of many black women grappling with AIDS. Through Sept. 24. 202/393-3939. Jayne Blanchard

• Son of a Bush — Gross National Product —**. Gross National Product’s new political comedy show is a sometimes endearingly low-tech deflation of inside-the-Beltway maneuvers, election-year posturing and the Bush administration. A lot of the political humor is about as fresh as a Tricky Dick impression. GNP does not bring anything new to the table, instead resorting to Mr. Cheney’s gun mishaps and Bushisms we have seen parodied a million times before. If you’re going to pick an easy target, make sure you can hit it at least some of the time. Through Oct. 9 at the Warehouse Theater. 202/783-7212. Jayne BlanchardMAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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