By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Sin Full Heaven: The third installment of Ricky J. Martinez's Island Trilogy is a good example of everything that can go wrong with homegrown, indie theater. The writing is a mess of clichés and hideously tortured sentence structures (Q: "Haven't you kissed women before?" A: "Never the lips of an angel." And "There will be no rock left on this island undisturbed for these traitors to hide under."). The plot is absurd, calling for constant histrionics so operatically overblown you'll wonder if the whole thing isn't some ill-advised genre parody. And the show's underlying philosophy betrays the writer's contempt for island-dwelling folks, whom he plainly regards as beatifically, innocently simple-minded. Brandon K. Thorp Through February 11. New Theatre, the Burstein Family Stage, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909, www.new-theatre.org.
Manon Lescaut: It was Puccini's first great success, and like every opera he ever composed, it can be transcendent in the right hands. These are the wrong hands. The set is tired, the orchestra sounds choppy and insensitive to rhythm, the staging is awkward, and the acting is, by turns, overblown or nonexistent. Opera fans can be forgiving if there's great singing, but in this version there's not much: Tenor John Hughes (Chevalier Des Grieux) barks his way through the production, and Sylvie Valayre (Manon), though in possession of a fine instrument, is far too reserved both dramatically and vocally. To hear how Puccini meant this work to sound, find a recording of Jussi Björling's Chevalier or Renata Tebaldi's Manon. Those performances are delightful; Florida Grand Opera's effort is merely depressing. Brandon K. Thorp Through February 17. Ziff Ballet Opera House, Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 800-741-1010, www.fgo.org.
Alice Does Wonderland: The Sol Theatre is a dirty place filled with dirty people. In Alice Does Wonderland, you will see a puppet give a man analingus. You will see Alice going down on the Cheshire Cat. You will see the Red Queen deep-throat a light saber, which is dangerous even if it is hygienic. And you will laugh. As always, Sol Theatre appears to be flying by the seat of its collective pants: Though Alice Does Wonderland is theoretically based on a script written by company members Jeff Holmes and Erynn Dalton, the cast doesn't seem too interested in following it; they're mostly interested in seeing how far they can travel into the filthy oubliettes of their own fevered brains. Theatergoers be warned: This nasty little production is a fundraiser, so bringing a few extra bucks is appropriate. Before showtime, audience members have the opportunity to bid on props from Sol's previous productions, random objects found in the theater, and lap-dances from the Sol-diers. Brandon K. Thorp Through February 17. Sol Theatre Project, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-6555, www.soltheatre.com.