Theater;mini-Reviews

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OPENING

* Goodnight Irene - Theater J - Lee Mikeska Gardner directs Ari Roth's play about a journalist who discovers unsettling news and sees his life transformed because of it. Opens today at the Cecile Goldman Theater. 800/494-TIXS.

* June Bride - Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Sara Felder's comedic solo turn about her traditional Jewish lesbian wedding. Previews begin Monday; opens Wednesday. 703/218-6500.

* The Lion in Winter - Round House Theatre - Jerry Whiddon and Tana Hicken star in this production, with Baltimore's Everyman Theatre, of James Goldman's drama about King Henry II. Opens Wednesday. 301/217-3300.

* The Magic Fire - Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theater - The Kennedy Center and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival team up in this play about a family marooned in Buenos Aires at the time of Eva Peron's death. Opens Saturday. 202/467-4600.

* Thunder Knocking on the Door - Arena Stage - Keith Glover's play about a Delta blues-guitar showdown, with original music by Keb' Mo' and Anderson Edwards. Opens tomorrow. 202/488-4377.

NOW PLAYING

* Barrymore - National Theatre - Christopher Plummer in his Tony-winning role as John Barrymore working at Richard III in William Luce's play. Through Sunday. 800/447-7400.

* The Chalk Garden - Washington Stage Guild - Enid Bagnold's play about what happens to a troubled girl and her stubborn grandmother when a stranger moves into their home. Through Nov. 29. 202/529-2084.

* Dr. Faustus - George Mason University Center for the Arts - Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan tragedy about selling one's soul for a lifetime of fulfilled wishes. Through Nov. 22. 703/993-8888.

* Expecting Isabel - Arena Stage - TWO AND ONE-HALF STARS. Former Arena Stage head Douglas C. Wager returns to direct Lisa Loomer's humorous play about a childless couple trying the myriad modern methods of having a baby. The emotional horrors built into the material could make you cry all night. In fact, the tale gets sluggish, but Miss Loomer's script is breezy, and Mr. Wager keeps the comic rhythm snappy. Through Nov. 22. 202/488-3300.

* Fascinating French Feast - Le Neon Theatre - Ten original sketches (performed in English and French) on a culinary theme. At the Rosslyn Spectrum through Sunday. 703/243-NEON.

* Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde - Studio Theatre - Moises Kaufman's prize-winning documentary play tracing the famous writer's arrest, trial and imprisonment. Through Dec. 6. 202/332-3300.

* Metamorphosis - Washington Shakespeare Company - FOUR STARS. Franz Kafka's novel about Gregor Samsa, a man in the Prague of 1915 who wakes up to find he has become a bug, was translated from the German and adapted to the stage more than 20 years ago by British stage and film actor-director Steven Berkoff. …