Capsule Reviews

Puppet Boy Dallas writer Lee Trull rewrites the Pinocchio story, setting it in Mussolini's Italy among Fascists who demand that the wooden lad (played by Jason Thomas Mayfield) attend school and obey the rules. Instead, he runs away and suffers trials at the hands (paws?) of a larcenous cat and fox and inside the stomach of a giant dogfish. The magical blue-haired fairy (Dana Schultes) comes to his rescue and reunites him with his father, Geppetto (Jerry Russell). Not light and quick enough to be a kids' show, not witty or deep enough to pass as grown-up theater, this odd script hovers uncomfortably somewhere in between. Director Jim Covault doesn't help matters by keeping the pace glacially slow. Short naps are possible. Through April 16 at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Sanders Theatre, 1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth, 817-784-9378. Reviewed this week. (Elaine Liner)

Rumors Any laughs that happen during this noisy Neil Simon comedy come from the comical physical exertions of Nye Cooper, Ginger Goldman and Jody Rudman, three good actors who give it their best efforts. Unfortunately, this trio nearly gets lost among the lesser performances of their numerous co-stars. Director Regan Adair has done better work before this. But really, how much could he do with a script whose best joke refers to the rhyming names of male characters Ben, Glen, Ken and Len? It all takes place at a dress-up dinner party where the two honorees are nowhere to be found. Lots of hubbub ensues involving gunshots, car accidents, flushing toilets and ringing phones. If Simon was trying for French farce, he failed. Through April 29 at Richardson Theatre Centre, 718 Canyon Creek Square, Richardson, 972-699-1130. Reviewed this week. (E.L.)

Waiting for a Train: The Life and Songs of Jimmie Rodgers The name in the title of this new bio-musical enjoyed a short career as a recording star during the Depression before dying of tuberculosis. Known as "The Blue Yodeler," Rodgers wrote hillbilly tunes that recently have been rediscovered thanks to O Brother, Where Art Thou? Undermain Theatre's Bruce DuBose wrote and stars in this show, which doesn't come close to paying worthy tribute to Rodgers or his music. Biggest problem (other than a script that eschews any semblance of storytelling) is that DuBose can't sing. Can't yodel either. So what was the point? Continues through May 13 at Undermain Theatre, 3200 Main St., 214-747-5515. Reviewed this week. (E.L.)

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