The second-best work in this Royal Family is by Robert Grossman as Oscar Wolfe, the family's old Jewish manager who is loyal to a fault. With a voice that sounds as if he gargles with bathtub gin, Grossman commands the stage and knows how to play a line and a look for a laugh.

So many productions at this theater suffer from a lack of attention to detail: cheap wigs, ill-conceived costumes, hodge-podge set pieces, uneven casting. All of those things mar the current show. What a different experience it might have been had Theatre Three given The Royal Family the royal treatment.

Romeo and Juliet, back again so soon? Produced full-length and full-out with lavish costumes and set earlier this summer by Fort Worth's TCU-funded Trinity Shakespeare Festival, the Bard's horny teenage lovers now return in modern street clothes at The Dallas Hub Theater in Deep Ellum. In a no-budget, abbreviated version by San Francisco dramaturg David Hundsness, the kids get from love at first sight at the Capulet ball to their dual suicides in the Capulet tomb in less than two hours.

Hilary Couch, Carolyn Wickwire and Morgana Shaw play three generations of theater royalty.
Ken Birdsell
Hilary Couch, Carolyn Wickwire and Morgana Shaw play three generations of theater royalty.

Details

The Royal Family continues through August 30 at Theatre Three. Call 214-871-3300.

Romeo and Juliet continues through August 22 at The Dallas Hub Theater. Call 214-749-7010.

Big snaps for brevity, but only a half-snap for the quality of acting in the production directed by David Lee Kelting for the Shane Arts Theatrical Ensemble Rep company. College student Travis McClung is a sexy-sweet Romeo, bringing a fresh, clear-voiced delivery to the familiar speeches. He knows how to talk the talk without rushing or garbling. As Juliet, recent high school grad Rachael Bower is an attractive amateur but is nowhere near ready to play the emotions of the role. Everyone else in the 11-member cast yells and stalks the stage in their cargo shorts and flip-flops looking like drunken tourists who've lost their wallets.

Just as it's getting really bad, though, it's over. It's Shakespeare so short there's time left on the parking meter.

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