Capsule Reviews

Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know Pack up your troubles and your high expectations for this 90-minute musical revue based on the travel columns of Fodor's writer Wendy Perrin. It's a light romp through tales of lost luggage and resort romance in this community theater production. Morgan Spollin, Meredith Morton and Doug Fowler lead a cast of nine through their paces. Lyrics aren't exactly Sondheim-esque. "Eating pork in Tel Aviv is not considered groovy/In Rwanda Tutsi's not a Dustin Hoffman movie." This is non-pro theater, so the production qualities are kind of La Quinta. The lighting is weaker than a motel desk lamp. The set is uglier than a Motel 6 bedspread. Still, there are lots of laughs, and the performers seem to be having so much fun, it's impossible not to hop on board and go along for the ride. Continues through October 2 at Richardson Theatre Centre, 718 Canyon Creek Square (near Custer and Renner roads), Richardson, 972-699-1130. Reviewed this week. (Elaine Liner)

The Tale of the Allergist's Wife Charles Busch's hit 2001 comedy finds an Upper West Side Jewish matron named Marjorie Taub (Pam Dougherty) in the throes of midlife crisis. Her shrink is dead, her kids are grown. Her doctor-husband (Ted Wold) devotes all his time to caring for the allergy-needy. Marjorie lies on the couch, wishing she'd finished her epic novel and musing on the writings of Hesse and Mann. Then an old friend appears, a free spirit named Lee (Connie Coit) who has served as a muse for Lenny Bruce, Kerouac, Warhol, Sondheim and scores of other high-culture heroes. Lee is a tonic for sad old Marjorie. Or is she a ghost? Busch ends Act 1 with a rousing surprise. Act 2 veers into sexual politics and biting social commentary. Too bad Theatre Three doesn't do better by the playwright and his witty, smart, lively characters. Except for Robert Silva as Mohammed the doorman, the actors are all wrong for the roles. Wold's too young to play a retired doc. Dougherty and Coit are too much the Southern shiksas--Sugarbaker sisters visiting Manhattan instead of Zabar's-loving natives. As a bowel-blocked granny, Ada Lynn bawls like a stuck pig and looks confused about dialogue and blocking. The set and costumes aren't as elegant and designer-label as they should be for the world Busch creates. But then, at Theatre Three, such visual details rarely get the attention they deserve. Continues through October 2 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., Suite 168. 214-871-3300. Reviewed this week. (E.L.)

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