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Theatre Reviews

Logistically challenging, Dignity Players’ attention to detail shows.

Sordid Lives, a black comedy about white trash, rode a wave of financial and critical success for over a decade, from L.A.’s theater scene to film and TV credits. Playwright Del Shores did it by playing on stereotypes that feed social discord, from homophobia to fundamentalism, from the country club to the trailer park. His characters are as big as Texas, comic diversions of tragic proportions. Underneath the honky-tonk hijinks is a sweet story about a family’s struggle for unity amid fragmenting differences.

Two hours to ponder the bearings on which a life rests

In Wit, Bay Theatre Company tackles a heartfelt and erudite play about a woman coming to terms with cancer.

Even the actors don’t know whodunit in this appealing mystery

The works of Agatha Christie, the queen of murder and reportedly the best-selling author of all time, are timeless because her characters transcend their settings. The privileged classes, it seems, are no happier than the rest of us, so we adore their frailties as much as the grandeur that surrounds them. Christie mysteries are box-office gold even when they’re so-so; Colonial Players’ The Unexpected Guest is diamond-studded platinum.

After two Irene cancellations, expect pent-up energy to enhance fine acting, staging and special effects in the last seven shows of this comedy about mis-communication

The lines of communication were abuzz all last week as first an earthquake and then a hurricane shook up our complacency. Natural phenomena often herald unwelcome change, and so it is in 2nd Star’s latest comedy about language, Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, which opens as a thunderstorm, ushers two Brits into backwoods Georgia, home of Southern hospitality and small-minded xenophobes.

Beneath the fun and fluff is the true history of Baltimore kids caught at the color line

A good hairspray delivers lasting style that looks sleek and natural, and at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre’s final musical of the season that’s just what you get.

Talent Machine’s 13- to 18-year-old thespians bring to life Cole Porter’s Can-Can

Talent Machine’s 13- to 18-year-old thespians bring to life Cole Porter’s Can-Can, a musical about the music, dance, love and artistry of 1890s’ Paris. Featuring the songs Never Give Anything Away, I Am in Love and Come Along with Me. Fri. Aug. 12 & Sat. Aug. 13 at 7:30pm. Key Auditorium, St. John’s College, Annapolis. $12 w/age discounts: 410-956-0512; www.talentmachine.com.

No doubt it would be a sin to miss it

Dignity Players has a fine reputation for staging plays of social significance, and Doubt is no exception — except in its quality. It’s so much more than good that it’s pretty near perfect.

You may be done with the past, but the past is never done with you.
—Magnolia (1999)

That aphorism sums up the point and the effect of Bowie Community Theatre’s ambitious Language of Angels.     Whether they are angels, ghosts or memories, voices from our past accompany, haunt and speak to us throughout our lives. They rarely speak in a linear or logical way, and often we aren’t sure of their message.

Musical comedy doesn’t get any better than this toothy horror story.

Broadway’s most profitable show ever, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s sci-fi musical Little Shop of Horrors, is now playing at Infinity Theatre Company, a professional troupe from New York that is the area’s newest addition to the summer arts scene. If you missed their Annapolis debut with My Way last month, you’ll definitely want to take in this last show of their season.

If’n you like watchin’ young’uns have a good time, you’re gonna like Li’l Abner.

In 24 years of showcasing Annapolis’ youth, The Talent Machine has groomed countless stars of community and professional theater, who continue to prove allegiance by fostering the company’s newest talents.