- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009


Angels in America, Part I: Millennium ApproachesForum Theatre at Round House Silver Spring — ★★★½ Although it was written in the early ‘90s and is set in the mid-1980s, many of the issues raised in Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic and intimate drama are as relevant and profound as ever. We’re still deeply divided politically between Republicans and Democrats, homophobia still exists, and gay rights have gained little ground. Director Jeremy Skidmore adeptly juggles the play’s exhilarating extremes — the lofty speeches about democracy and freedom and the almost painfully small moments between two people that are anything but. Playing in repertory with “Perestroika”; see www.forumtheatredc.org for full schedule. Through Saturday. 240/644-1100

Full CircleWoolly Mammoth Theatre Company — ★★★ You may not fully understand “Full Circle,” but that shouldn’t stand in the way of a good time. Going with the flow is definitely in order in this roaming, multimedia movable feast of a production directed by Michael Rohd. Forget about the comfort zone. Audience members mingle with the actors and the action, and the play makes fine use of the entire Woolly Mammoth building. Free-wheeling, confrontational, unexpected — these words best describe Charles L. Mee’s fun and frequently irreverent rewriting of history and Bertolt Brecht’s play “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” Set in Berlin at the time of the Wall’s fall in 1989, the comedy evokes the chaos and opportunities present in the New World Order and makes connections to the current economic crisis and fears that President Obama is taking our nation into socialism. Through Sunday. 202/393-3939

Jersey BoysNational Theatre — ★★★½ As a production polished to sequined sheen by director Des McAnuff, “Jersey Boys” is different on several levels. This documentary-style show traces the turbulent story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, who went from harmonizing street punks to ‘60s sensations and a berth in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Mr. Valli (Joseph Leo Bwarie) may sing like an angel, but he and the other members of the group were no saints. There’s also the music. If you’re a die-hard Four Seasons fan, the pitch-perfect renditions of “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Stay” and “Working My Way Back to You” will transport you back to a time of transistor radios and beach-blanket bingo. Through Dec. 12. 800/447-7400

Much Ado About NothingFolger Theatre ★★½ — A Caribbean lilt and a D.C. Carnival setting appear to be an inspired combination for Shakespeare’s sunny and sexy battle of wits between the sexes. Director Timothy Douglas sets Shakespeare’s wordplay-drunk romantic comedy in this urban-tropical atmosphere, and it works, for the most part. Having the male characters appear as D.C. cops and security personnel sets up an interesting tension between the partyers and the peacekeepers and also is fodder for some splendidly goofy physical clowning. However, the idea that hero Benedick (Howard W. Overshown) and his compadres Don Pedro (Tony Nam), Claudio (Alexis Camins) and the resentful Don John (Joel David Santner) are returning victorious from war and looking to let off a little steam before settling down is completely lost. Through Sunday. 202/544-7077


Compiled by Jayne Blanchard

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