- The Washington Times - Friday, November 14, 2008

NOW PLAYING

Altar BoyzBethesda Theatre — ★★½ Scripture-quoting homies are in the house in the pop revue “Altar Boyz,” an oft-times divinely engaging parody of boy bands, the MTV sound and contemporary Christian music. The 90-minute musical depicts the final stop of the Altar Boyz’s “Raise the Praise” national tour — and you don’t have to feel sinful about simply enjoying the spoofy lyrics and the well-choreographed dance moves of the cast. Through Jan. 3. 301/657-STAR.

1 Henry IVFolger Theatre — ★★★ The Folger’s forceful production of “1 Henry IV” is very much like the play’s hero — comical and waggish in the beginning but later growing in stature and sense of purpose. It finds the newly crowned king, Henry Bollingbroke (Rick Foucheux, who makes the Bard’s words both immediate and conversational) once again at odds with his greatest rival, the Percy family, led by the impetuous young warmonger Henry Percy, or Hotspur (David Graham Jones). Director Paul Mason Barnes has given us a visually handsome “Henry” that is equally compelling in the barroom and on the battlefield. Through Sunday. 202/544-7077.

Honey Brown EyesTheater J — ★★★½ The grotesqueries and moments of grace in the Bosnian War are illumined in Theater J’s world-premiere production of Stefanie Zadravec’s play “Honey Brown Eyes,” directed with taut intensity by Jessica Lefkow and featuring searing performances by a first-rate cast. This is not an easy play to watch, and it does not give easy answers, but it allows us to experience the ways humanity and horror coexist in a war where the “enemy” is not made up of faceless strangers, but of people we know and perhaps once loved. Through Nov. 30. 800/494-TIXS.

Playing From the HeartImagination Stage — ★★★ Imagination Theatre is hosting the American premiere of this British import, which depicts the formative years of percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who was pronounced “profoundly deaf” at the age of 12 but went on to be accepted at the Royal Academy of Music and become an internationally acclaimed musician. The play concentrates on Miss Glennie’s childhood, the years leading up to her playing in a student concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Evelyn (Erica Siegel, an actress with a hearing impairment) stands poised at what she knows is “her moment” and looks back at the forces that influenced her. Charles Way’s play, directed by Janet Stanford, is ingeniously conceived, as it integrates the idea that for lip readers, words and music form shapes. Through Nov. 30. 301/961-6060.

Way of the WorldShakespeare Theatre — ★★★ Michael Kahn’s immaculate production of William Congreve’s 1700 Restoration comedy borrows a palette from the most exquisitely tended parklands and ornamental gardens. In Mr. Kahn’s staging, green represents the lush English parks and gardens where the elite and servant classes alike engage in pursuits far naughtier than bending over to inspect the roses. The color also symbolizes envy and avarice — two forces abundantly at work in Mr. Congreve’s witty condemnation of duplicity and slavery to fashion in Restoration society. Through Sunday. 202/547-1122.

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

Compiled by Jayne Blanchard

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