Theater;theater Mini-Reviews

By Pressley, Nelson | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 1, 1997 | Go to article overview

Theater;theater Mini-Reviews


Pressley, Nelson, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


OPENING

* Love! Valour! Compassion! - Studio Theatre. Terrence McNally's Tony-winning comic drama about the relationships and rivalries among a group of gay men. Through June 1; 202/332-3300. Not reviewed.

* Moby Dick Rehearsed - American Century Theater. Herman Melville's{D-} novel as a theatrical improvisation, written by Orson Welles. At the Gunston Arts Center through May 24; 703/553-8782. Not reviewed.

* Mourning Becomes Electra - Shakespeare Theatre. Michael Kahn directs Eugene O'Neill's Civil War-era saga. Through June 8; 202/393-2700. Not reviewed.

* Valley Song - Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theater. Athol Fugard directs and stars in his play about a South African girl and her possessive grandfather. Through May 25; 202/467-4600. Not reviewed.

NOW PLAYING * Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Keegan Theatre - (TWO AND ONE-HALF STARS). A workmanlike treatment of the Tennessee Williams classic about desire and mendacity. The design is flawed and the supporting acting is uneven, but the three leads - Nanna Ingvarsson as Maggie the Cat, Brian Hemmingsen as Big Daddy, and Mark Rhea as Brick - are rock-solid. At the Church Street Theater through May 24; 703/799-6581.

* Chicago - National Theatre - (THREE AND ONE-HALF STARS). Director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking lay on all the Bob Fosse trimmings - tons of sex appeal and razzle-dazzle - in this satire about two murderous chorines vying for fame in Prohibition-era Chicago. All the singers (led by Jasmine Guy, Obba Babatunde and Belle Calaway) are top-notch, and almost every number in this remarkable John Kander-Fred Ebb score is a knockout. The sinuous dancing is dynamite, and the story is disarmingly funny and relevant. This is the strongest piece of musical theater to hit town in years. Through June 22; 800/447-7400.

* Down at the Old Bull and Bush - Interact Theatre Company. An affectionate tribute to the happy-go-lucky traditions of the English music hall. If your tolerance for bad jokes is high, and you're not the sort of theatergoer who regards enforced sing-alongs as a kind of terrorism, you may well have a jolly time. The singing is fine, and the cast performs with good cheer. Authentic English grub, from Cornish pasties to Guinness stout, is available at the bar. At Arena Stage's Old Vat Theater through June 1; 202/488-3300.

* A Fool and His Money - Warner Theatre. A gospel musical by David E. Talbert. Through May 11; 202/783-4000.

* Indiscretions (Les Parents Terribles) - Washington Stage Guild - (THREE STARS). A perversely possessive mother and a sneaky father are distraught when their 22-year-old son falls in love with a nice 25-year-old woman. It's a messy situation that the mother's bitter sister takes pains to neaten. Jeremy Sams' translation of Jean Cocteau's play is a dark, sometimes uproariously funny farce that quickly gives way to melodramatic mechanics; the acting is unflaggingly bold. Through May 25; 202/529-2084.

* The King and I - Kennedy Center Opera House - (TWO AND ONE-HALF STARS). If the road version of this hit Broadway revival sounded as good as it looked, it would be a dashing show. Hayley Mills and Vee Talmadge act the roles of the British schoolteacher and the tyrannical king of Siam wonderfully, but their singing is a major letdown. The supporting singers are quite good, and the design - using rich, radiant colors - is sumptuous. Through May 18; 202/467-4600.

* Melville Slept Here - Signature Theatre - (TWO AND ONE-HALF STARS). Norman Allen's comedy shapes up as a trivial pursuit about a middle-aged couple whose marriage is jazzed up through the intervention of a sea captain's ghost, and then it takes a fresh turn toward darker, more bittersweet territory. It's a bit obvious about its good guys and bad guys, but Mr. Allen shifts tone with surprising dexterity, and he creates several quiet, poignant moments. …

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