- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2007

OPENING

• Eubie! — Olney Theatre Center. A play that follows the life of composer, pianist and raconteur Hubert “Eubie” Blake. Opens Wednesday. 301/924-3400.

• She Stoops to Comedy — Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. A comedic play-within-a-play that takes place during a production of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Opens Monday. 202/393-3939.

NOW PLAYING

• Doubt — National Theatre — ****. John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is a piece of great, brave writing that keeps audiences in rapt silence as Sister Aloysius, a 60-ish Catholic school principal circa 1964 (the matchless Cherry Jones), pursues and corners Father Flynn (Chris McGarry), the parish’s magnetic priest, whom she suspects may be sexually abusing one of the male students. Miss Jones is magnificent as the frail nun who is ruthless and terrifying in her burning, shockingly feral desire to protect the children at all costs. Mr. Shanley doesn’t tell you who’s right and who’s wrong. Rather, he suggests that surety is a sham, that having doubts makes you a wise — not a weak — person. Through Sunday. 800/447-7400.

• Family Secrets — Theater J — ***1/2. Sherry Glaser’s solo turn exploring love and neurosis in the five members of a Jewish family became Off-Broadway’s longest-running one-woman show in 1993. Now reprised, it’s still filled with hilarious and heart-catching moments. Miss Glaser transforms herself into a Buddha-bellied accountant, a housewife who mistook her son for Jesus, a frantically angry teen, a New Age daughter, and a grandma savoring a late-in-life marriage. All share a New York nasal whine, a rebelliousness and a sense of humor as dry as yesterday’s matzo. And all carry the message that love and family are all that matters, regardless of how miserable and inconvenient they may seem. Through April 15 at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. 800/494-8497.

• Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune — Arena Stage, Kreeger Theater — ***. The gulf between sex and intimacy is explored with earthy joie de vivre in Terrence McNally’s 1987 working-class fairy tale about a one-night stand in a cramped New York apartment that could turn into something lasting. Under the expert guidance of director David Muse and with two splendid actors (Kate Buddeke and Vito D’Ambrosio) in the title roles, its unbridled raunch and honesty grab you, as does the emotional, unretouched nakedness the actors are willing to display. The play is full of simulated sex and blue talk, but get beyond that and you have frightened people clinging to a tendril of hope. Through April 8. 202/488-3300.

• Insurrection: Holding History — Theater Alliance — ***. Playwright Robert O’Hara is just nervy enough to find the irreverent side of slavery. His 1996 play gives us a black graduate student who is working on a thesis about Nat Turner and, with his 189-year-old great-great-grandfather, time-travels back to Virginia and the days before Turner’s insurrection. Mr. O’Hara mixes camp and historical narrative to give us a reeling ride through the 1831 rebellion as well as contemporary issues of sexual and cultural identity. The rambunctious production features uninhibited performances by a talented cast, whose vibrant energy goes a long way in overcoming a sprawling, out-of-control script. Through Sunday at the H Street Playhouse. 202/396-0050.

• Junebug and the Reverend — Imagination Stage — ***. Martha King De Silva’s gentle, disarming play is drawn from three books by Alice Mead, who based them on her experiences working in the housing projects in New Haven, Conn. Ten-year-old Junebug, newly the man of the house for his mother and sister because his father is in prison, sets out to find mentors in his new neighborhood and to lay some of his burden down. A world premiere directed with great empathy by Kathryn Chase Bryer, it’s a show about resilience and everyday heroics: No one comes to Junebug’s rescue. He has to figure it out for himself. And by learning to trust and ask for support, Junebug moves from visions of disaster to calmer waters. Through Sunday. 301/280-1660.

• The Pillowman — Studio Theatre — ****. The images in “The Pillowman” are ghastly enough to make even John Waters, the prince of puke, want to lose his lunch. Sick, twisted, profoundly disturbing — these are high accolades for Martin McDonagh’s Grand Guignol masterpiece about the power of story. Mr. McDonagh, a playwright who usually confines himself to squalid visions of modern Ireland, turns to the horror genre for “The Pillowman,” giving Stephen King and Clive Barker fierce competition with 10 grisly little stories he concocts as a through line for a theatrical work that moves as seamlessly as a morbid musical under Joy Zinoman’s thrilling direction at Studio Theatre. Through April 22. 202/332-3300. MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide