Friday, November 7, 2008


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 Nov. 30. 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 Nov. 16. 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.

Host and GuestSynetic Theater — ★★★★ Six years and recent events in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have only enhanced the intensity and artistry of one of Synetic Theater’s signature pieces. “Host and Guest” was adapted in 2002 by Roland Reed from an epic poem by Vazha Pshavela that was written at the turn of the 20th century. This production has renewed vigor and a stately beauty that gives you the shivers. Through Sunday. 800/494-8497.

TemptationConstellation Theatre Company at Source Theatre Company — ★★½ Czech playwright-politician Vaclav Havel’s 1985 play is an adaptation of the Faust legend that suggests repression and the regulation of ideas are the real moral enemies of humanity and that a demon who encourages independent pondering of the deep questions is working for good, not evil. This being a Havel play, there are ample long-winded pontificating and philosophizing. Director Allison Arkell Stockman tries to get around the density with stylized movement and slinky dance steps. Through Sunday. 800/494-8497.

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 Nov. 16. 202/547-1122.


Compiled by Jayne Blanchard

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