By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Just a Kiss: In Catherine Bush's new play, making its world premiere, two beautiful but struggling actresses are excited to land costarring roles in an off-Broadway play. The enthusiasm of Zee Scott (Caroline Edelen), a guarded, eccentric loner; and Annie Howard (Elise Girardin), one half of a conservative cohabitating couple, is tempered by their distaste for one another and their anxiety over a hot and heavy kissing scene. After many rehearsals, the women overcome their apprehension about the explosive scene and nail the kiss. The only problem is that they do it perhaps a little too well. Opening night is met with rave reviews, but as the stars' romance trickles off the stage and morphs into a close friendship, their significant others are less than enthusiastic. The play tracks the emotional roller coaster that can accompany an actor's taking on a pivotal, controversial role. It assures us, though, that fellow actors will always understand and support each other ... at least until the curtain closes. Camille Lamb Through December 10. Tickets cost $15-$45. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909, www.new-theatre.org.
City Beneath the Sea: The story of a young girl who saves an underwater metropolis from the powers of evil, played out through sparkling marionette sea creatures, is Pablo Cano's ninth marionette production at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This musical production consists of hand-crafted puppets made from cookie cutters, plastic light bulbs, rubber doilies, and cigarette wrappers. City Beneath the Seais more than meets the eye. In Cano's work, Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades meet Robert Rauschenberg's mixtures of painting and sculpture. Even the sad eyes of Victor Manuel's portraits make an interlude and mingle with the filmmaker Georges Mélis, whose films inspired Cano's set, and of course Cuba is never too far from the Havana-born artist's creations. "My working process is a little different than some artists," Cano says. "I usually go to different Cuban restaurants that have paper place mats and draw characters while waiting for dinner with my family." Vanessa Garcia Through December 23. Tickets cost $3-$16; seating is limited. MoCA, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; www.mocanomi.org.
Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love: Brad Fraser's play is about seven folks searching for love in Edmonton, Alberta. Some are gay, some are lesbians, some are straight, and one of them might be a serial killer. The plot is strictly B movie, but don't let it fool you: This story is told with such frenetic glee and panache that form quickly overtakes function indeed form pummels function into bleeding submission within the play's first five minutes, and all spectators present must count themselves lucky to have witnessed it. The action moves quickly, bopping from location to location and scene to scene too quickly to follow. Some scenes run concurrently; sometimes monologues overtake one another and coalesce into Something Else. The whole while, images of hideous violence and extremely hot sex converge till they're virtually indistinguishable. This ain't a family show, though it's very much a Family show, if you catch my drift. Brandon K. Thorp Through December 30. The Sol Theatre Project, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-6555, www.soltheatre.com.
Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love: Never embarrassed by its own affectionate treatment of its subject, this musical is pitch-perfect and more fun than any nostalgia trip has the right to be. In fact it doesn't feel like nostalgia at all. Hunka Hunka Burnin' Loveis not an impersonation show, nor does it attempt to tell a story with Elvis's music. The program notes call it a "celebration" of Elvis's music, but it looks and sounds like a concert: three singers backed by a rockin', no-frills five-piece; everybody uses real names; and the singers address the audience directly. The arrangements by Tedd Firth and John Oddo are smart and full. Sometimes it's difficult to wrap your head around the fact that these noises are being made by only five musicians, especially on "Can't Help Falling in Love," and the breathtakingly sincere "In the Ghetto" will make you think, What the hell? I've just been moved to tears by had a genuine emotional experience with a piece of absolute, trivial, cheese-ball garbage! It's not a fair complaint, because that's the heart and soul of the Elvis Experience itself. Brandon K. Thorp Through December 17. Tickets cost $32.50-$41.50. Caldwell Theatre, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-241-7432, www.caldwelltheatre.com.