Capsule Reviews

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea WingSpan Theatre Company presents John Patrick Shanley's taut little romantic comedy about two young losers who find true love by accident. Actors Heather Henry and Clay Yocum act with such authenticity and raw abandon that they're almost too real. Director Susan Sargeant keeps the trappings simple--Wade Giampa's uncluttered bedroom setting doesn't distract from the action--and the emotions never stop roiling. Shanley, an Oscar-winner for Moonstruck, is great at creating fresh love stories about unconventional people. This one gently calms the madness of two sad lunatics who yearn to feel something close to normal. How they get there is the heart of this deeply affecting play. Running a little over an hour (no intermission), the evening is just long enough to feel satisfying. Through November 12 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Dr., 972-504-6218. Reviewed this week. (Elaine Liner)

Debbie Does Dallas The cotton-candy dialogue from the vintage smut film makes for some guilt-inducing chuckles in this spoofy musical adaptation conceived by Susan L. Schwartz, adapted by Erica Schmidt, with music by Andrew Sherman. A hit off-Broadway, Debbie has been cleaned up enough to barely earn an R-rating for the stage version. OK, the cheerleaders just keep accidentally falling into poses from the Kama Sutra, and two of the high school boys can't stop playing grab-ass with each other. But there's more skin on any episode of Benny Hill. The comically gifted Cara Statham Serber plays the title role of the cheer captain who dreams of a career with a certain troupe of professional sideline booty-shakers. How she earns the dough to get to Big D is what gets her and four cheer-friends into compromising positions. Not as funny or campy as Rocky Horror, Debbie does feature some intentionally broad acting. Allison Tolman, on loan from Second Thought Theatre, gets to play a slut for a change and she goes at it with gusto, macking on cute Jeffrey Schmidt as the thick-skulled football hero. Director Tina Parker works in a parade of sexual symbolism, including a line of dancing bananas. Silly fun, but not quite as polished as most Kitchen Dog productions. Through December 17 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave., 214-953-1055. Reviewed this week. (E.L.)

(The) Book of Matches Our Endeavors Theater Collective cooks up a tribute to Marcel Duchamp performed inside the exhibit of the Dada-ist's work at the Dallas Museum of Art. John Flores, Lulu Ward and Lainie Simonton eat up 40 minutes with bizarre movement, nonsensical dialogue and abstract musical interludes, some played on a child's xylophone. Somewhere between performance art and the ministry of silly walks, this piece might contain an ironic message about the intrusion of technology on personal behavior, or maybe it's a metaphysical study in how to make an audience uncomfortable (seat them on hard wooden benches and wait for the fun to begin). Performed again October 28, November 20, December 10, 17 & 18 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., 214-922-1200. Reviewed October 27. (E.L.)

Margo Veil: An Entertainment Wanna bet? Len Jenkin's 80-minute script sounds like pages of 12 different (not very good) radio plays shuffled together and performed with no explanation for the non-linear format. The opening story of a young actress (Shannon Kearns) who gives up the stage to move back to the Midwest is quickly abandoned for a bizarre journey into radio evangelism, soul-shifting machinery, serial killers, escaped convicts, magicians, country line dancing (if that's what it was) and monologues by passengers on invisible trains. Just when you start to think they can't possibly carry on with this hoo-ha any longer, there are still 45 minutes to go (and without an intermission, there's no possibility of an early escape). The ensemble--Bruce DuBose, Jack Birdwell, Rhonda Boutte, Carrie Bourne, Brady Fuqua, Joel McDonald, Matthew Posey and Kearns--could surely put their considerable talents to better use. Through November 19 at Undermain Theatre, 3200 Main St., 214-747-5515. Reviewed October 27. (E.L.)

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