Air, Fire, Water: Jim Tommaney's three short plays range widely in subject and effectiveness but stick to a central tone of foreboding. In Air, a speaker opposed to the war in Iraq is threatened by shadowy government operatives. In Fire, a psychiatric patient menaces his therapist. In the best of the trio, Water, a modern-day Cassandra has a dire prediction for South Beach. The production suffers from Edge Theatre's usual bare-bones style -- no set design and awful lighting -- but Mitchell Carrey's professional direction is a decided plus, as is the performance of Kirsten Upchurch as Cassandra. -- Ronald Mangravite October 8 through 17 at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00, Sundays at 3:00. 305-531-6083.
Anna in the Tropics: Nilo Cruz directs his Pulitzer Prize-winning play with theatrical flourishes, but there's a decided lack of character detail and substance. Cruz's tale of adulterous romance among Cuban cigar-makers in 1929 Florida features exquisite poetry and a complex, Chekovian narrative of a traditional family business facing the advent of modern mechanization. The widely anticipated production, Cruz's first crack at directing his own work, offers outstanding design and a competent ensemble cast, but Cruz as director doesn't exploit the shadings and emotional textures of his own script. The result is flashy and often funny, but ultimately frustrating. -- Ronald Mangravite Through October 24. Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove. 305-442-4000.
Frozen: Reviewed in this issue. Through November 7. Gablestage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. 305-445-1119.
Once on This Island: This folk musical about a poor Haitian girl who rescues then falls in love with a handsome young aristocrat is a deceptively simple meditation on race, class, and gender politics. The story-theater-style show features a big, energetic cast in a colorful spectacle of a production with splashy visuals. But while this show is easy on the eye, a muddy sound system makes it hard to hear, despite the company's strong vocal skills. Teddy Harrell, Jr., directs with energy but without precision. -- Ronald Mangravite Through October 17. Presented by the African-American Performing Arts Community Theatre, Liberty Square Community Center, 6304 NW Fourteenth Ave., Miami. 305-751-4043.
Shear Madness: Reviewed in this issue. Through January 2. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293.