By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
By Travis Cohen
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Monica McGivern
By Travis Cohen
Bug: This wild riff on blue collar paranoia from the author of Killer Joe is set in an Oklahoma City motel where a hard-luck waitress encounters a Gulf War vet who claims that the government has implanted mind-controlling insects under his skin. Director Joseph Adler stirs up a highly charged thriller and there is much that might startle: extensive nudity, casual trips to the toilet (in full audience view), and moments of grotesque violence, but it also manages to be a loopy, poignant love story. The result is disturbing and creepy but thoroughly engaging. -- Ronald MangraviteThrough January 2. Gablestage at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-1119. Late Nite Catechism: You don't have to be Catholic to laugh with Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan's one-woman show starring Kathleen Stefano that has turned the Encore Room into a parochial school complete with holy cards, wooden rulers, and one formidable nun who will be sure you do not chew gum, speak without permission, or ever, everforget your Easter duty. You've heard about Irish Alzheimer's? That's when you forget everything but the grudges. Should priests be allowed to marry? Only if they really, really love each other. You get the idea. -- Octavio Roca Through December 19. Coconut Grove Playhouse, Encore Room, 3500 Main Hwy.; 305-442-4000.
Shear Madness: The funniest murder-mystery you'll ever see takes place at the Shear Madness Hair Salon in Coral Gables (nestled comfortably inside the Miracle Theatre), where two detectives enlist the help of the audience to figure out which of the four suspects murdered a famous pianist residing upstairs. The jokes are geared toward a South Florida audience and are so frequent and well-delivered it's difficult to catch your breath. -- Dan Hudak Through January 2. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293.
Two Trains Running: The characters talk, talk, and talk, but what they say and do never really adds up to much in Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson's play about seven regulars at a Pittsburgh diner circa 1969. Memphis is determined to get ample money for his property, Sterling needs a job, Risa needs to be loved, and Hambone desperately needs to "get his ham," but there's so much extraneous jabber it's hard to care very much for anyone. Still, the ambitious work from the M Ensemble Company is not without its moments, particularly Meshaun Labrone Arnold's welcome comic relief as Sterling. -- Dan Hudak Through December 19. M Ensemble Company, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami; 305-895-8955 or www.themensemble.com.
Vampire Lesbians of Sodom: Charles Busch's 1984 camp classic, one of Off-Broadway's longest-running hits, moves from the original Twin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to Hollywood in the Jazz Age then on to Las Vegas today. A Vampire Succubus and a Reluctant Virgin Sacrifice return after centuries as the undead Condesa and her nemesis Madeleine, in a plot that calls for sex and holy water, for outrageous choreography, crackerjack direction, and deadpan humor, for the sort of spontaneity that in truth is anything but spontaneous on stage. This enthusiastic production is a work of love by a troupe that may not know enough to savor Busch's lines but is nevertheless probably having a very good time putting on the show. There are worse things. -- Octavio Roca. In repertory with Sleeping Beauty, or Coma. Presented through December 18 by Sol Theatre Project, 1140 NE Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-6555, www.soltheatre.com.