Barrio Hollywood: The New Theatre's latest world premiere has considerable potential: it's not only a play about boxing, it's also about Mexican-American culture, family loyalty and cross-cultural romance. To this add some imaginative staging by the New's Rafael de Acha and evocative, colorful production design and all signs point to superior stagecraft. Yet while each of these assets is on display in this world premiere, the sum of the parts doesn't add up to much impact: this boxing play looks good but doesn't land many punches. -- Ronald Mangravite Through November 14. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables. 305-443-5909.
Frozen: Bryony Lavery's explosive play gets a gripping Florida premiere under Joseph Adler's direction. Glimpses into a mother's blind hope, brief intimations of a psychiatrist's own emotional vulnerability, frightening little vignettes of a serial killer's ordinariness -- these are the dizzying ingredients of a tale that spans two decades and portrays nothing less than every parent's worst nightmare. Nearly everything rings true in Adler's pitch-perfect direction: from the very British dowdiness of Lisa Morgan's mother and the unexpected wackiness of Bridget Connors as the American psychiatrist, to the scary blandness of Gordon McConnell's tattooed killer. These details seem familiar, even banal. Much like evil. That may be the most unsettling detail of all. -- Octavio Roca Through November 7. GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. 305-445-1119, www.gablestage.org.
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 ever forget 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., Miami. 305-442-4000.
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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.