By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Down the Road: To blame society's problems on celebrity culture is shallow beyond contempt, but it will always appeal to those more interested in bitching than thinking. The same can be said for Lee Blessing's Down the Road.It's the story of Iris and Dan Henniman (Margie Elias Eisenberg and Christopher Kauffman), a husband-and-wife team of writers-for-hire who are trying to forge a book out of a series of interviews with a serial killer (Daniel Lugo). As the interviews wear on, the couple becomes increasingly distressed over the questionable morals underpinning the project. The show's central questions: Do killers deserve to be celebrities? And does the desire for celebrity actually turn people intoserial killers? The subject is given far too facile a treatment, and the energy expended by the show's actors as they grapple with it is more exhausting than revelatory. It's too bad, because they're very competent, and they approach their material like they fully expect it to give up some secret. But if there was some insight hidden in Blessing's rhetoric-rich melodrama, they probably would have found it. Brandon K. Thorp Through December 17. Alliance Theatre Lab (at the Main Street Playhouse), 6766 Main St, Miami Lakes; 305-567-2721, www.thealliancetheatrelab.com.
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.