Current Stage Shows

Our critics weigh in on the local theater

 The Gulf of Westchester: Deborah Zoe Laufer's biting satire about the war in Iraq hurtles along with such passion and intensity it's breathtaking. Laufer doesn't get the gold at the finish line -- she cartwheels out of control well before that -- but her reckless bravado makes for the kind of agitprop, bare-knuckle theater that rarely makes an appearance on contemporary stages. Laufer's go-for-the-throat antiwar stance doesn't offer any new ideas, but Louis Tyrrell's flawless staging and inventive use of video sequences makes for an intriguing production. The outstanding cast features Kim Ostrenko as an icy pro-Bush housewife and Stephen G. Anthony as her back-slapping husband. Through June 13. Florida Stage, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. 800-514-3837.

The Underpants: There are few sure things in theater as well as in life, but a sex comedy from funnyman Steve Martin performed by a first-rate cast should be one of those. Sad to say, The Underpants is something of a disappointment. Martin's adaptation of a 1910 German satire by Carl Sternheim has to do with a fussy bureaucrat and his attractive wife who accidentally drops her drawers while watching a parade, attracting the amorous intentions of several men. This premise has lots of promise and the array of hardworking comedic talent -- headed by veteran farceur John Felix -- is formidable indeed. But while the production gets airborne at several hilarious moments, it never stays aloft for long. Through June 13. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293.

Cookin' at the Cookery: This breezy "biomusical" traces the life and career of popular blues singer Alberta Hunter. The production features a talented cast of two and a terrific onstage band, all of whom soar when the music kicks in. But those seeking some substantive drama will find writer/director Marion J. Caffey's plodding script rather pointless. This Cookin' tastes fine, but it's decidedly lightweight fare. Through June 13. Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove. 305-442-4000. -- Ronald Mangravite

Cookin' at the Cookery at the Coconut Grove 
Playhouse
Cookin' at the Cookery at the Coconut Grove Playhouse

 
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