Capsule Reviews

Bug The two-legged freaks battle six-legged ones in Tracy Letts' thoroughly fascinating dark comedy about paranoia, love and anarchy. Kitchen Dog Theater stages the two-act play in their tiny black box space, giving the audience an even better sense of the claustrophobia the characters feel in their cramped hotel room (great set by John M. Hobbie). Actors Diane Worman and Ian Leson bare all for their roles as troubled losers brought together by circumstance. Strong performances, too, by Christine Vela, Wm. Paul Williams and Mark Oristano. Jonathan Taylor makes a stunning debut as a new director at KDT. Great play, extraordinarily good acting give KDT their best season opener in years. Through October 8 at Kitchen Dog Theater at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave., 214-953-1055. Reviewed this week. (Elaine Liner)

The Imaginary Invalid They didn't warn about the rhymed couplets. If they had, there's no way we would have agreed to sit through more than two hours of the highfalutin', Dr. Seuss-style, sing-songy stuff. Theatre Three's Jac Alder has done his own translation of the Molière farce about a hypochondriac obsessed with marrying his daughter off to a doctor. Trouble is, she's in love with a musician. Alder directed and designed this thing, too, which means nobody was around to point out his mistakes. Like, doing the play in the first place. T3 got its season off to a sizzling start with Metamorphoses (featuring nekkid actors splashing in a big swimming pool). Now they're back to the same sort of ill-conceived, hammily acted junk this venue, sadly, is best known for. Through October 1 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., Suite 168, 214-871-3300. Reviewed September 8. (E.L.)

Lettice & Lovage Peter Shaffer's three-act comedy focuses on Lettice Douffet (Sue Birch), a history-obsessed tour guide at England's "most boring" stately mansion. When she begins augmenting her tour spiel with concocted "facts" about the history of the place, her boss (Pem Price Medlin) at the National Trust isn't pleased. Still, the two spinster-y ladies become fast friends for no apparent reason, other than Shaffer needed an Oscar/Felix duo to hang his play on. Written originally for Dame Maggie Smith, the play sags with lesser mortals in the leads. Birch isn't quite eccentric enough to make Lettice fascinating. And the long pauses between lines drag the whole affair toward the three-hour mark. A disappointing effort by Theatre Britain. Through September 18 at the Trinity River Arts Center, 2600 Stemmons Freeway at Motor Street, 972-490-4202. Reviewed September 8. (E.L.)

Dave Little "My name is Dave. I'm a Leo," says comedian Dave Little, introducing himself at the beginning of the one-man show he performs at the Addison Improv once a month. A regular on the Dallas comedy scene for some 20 years, Little is a bit of a charming shambler. He's a rumpled, middle-aged dad who's "been married for 15 million years." It seems like he's doing comedy as a ruse to get out of the house. "I like to pick up hitchhikers," he says, "and then make a U-turn." There are plenty of U-turns in Little's material, which combines the usual cockeyed observational stuff with original songs. He notes that there are security cameras in Goodwill Stores. "They're guarding shit that you threw away." He says he can tell if a guy is gay or straight "the minute I kiss him." He strums his guitar and launches into a funny-sad song about being in his 40s. "My sense of adventure is gone/I only get excited mowing the lawn." Working without a set script, Little's likely to start chatting with ringside observers. And he doesn't let a lull in the 80-minute show get him down. "What time is it?" he asks a patron. "Oh, we've got forever." Through September 14 at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road at Quorum Drive, 972-404-8501. (E.L.)

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