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The Good German: David Wiltse's 2003 drama depicting a German couple who shelter a Jewish publisher during Hitler's era features plenty of articulate debate about prejudice and personal responsibility. However, all the talk fails to spark a dramatic fire. Louis Tyrell's production is solid if not stellar with a skilled acting ensemble backed by a set design comprising somber earthy tones. The result is appropriately Germanic -- thoughtful, solid, but rather dull. -- Ronald Mangravite Through June 12. Florida Stage, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan; 561-585-3433, 800-514-3837.
House and Garden: Alan Ayckbourn's two comedies share one large cast of characters and myriad plot lines comprising failed marriages, adultery, and other romantic permutations. One play is set in an English country house, the other in the adjacent garden, and all must run in perfect synchronization: An exit in one show means an immediate entrance into the other. House's superior comedic plot is quite entertaining, but Garden's is rather soggy. Although performances range widely in caliber, Gary Marachek shines in his role as a philandering country squire. -- Ronald Mangravite Through June 5. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293.
The Good German
Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell: The winner of the tenth annual National Children's Theatre Festival is a musical fairy tale with deep social and political undertones. A bumbling fairy godmother, Izzy, is charged with the protection of a beautiful baby princess. Fearing the infant's physical grace will tarnish her sensibilities, Izzy casts a spell rendering the young girl unattractive and deems only a prince's kiss can reverse the magic. In a lively and comical manner the story examines the pressure placed on teenagers through well-crafted songs and a showstopping performance by David Perez-Ribada as Clyde, a clumsy inventor turned lover-boy. -- Ronald Mangravite Through May 28. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293.
Louie & Ophelia: Set in the late Seventies, M Ensemble's season finale exposes the tumultuous relationship between a middle-age man and a slightly younger mother of two, but lacks enough warmth and care to demonstrate they are indeed in love. Any weakness rests on the shoulders of the playwright, Gus Edwards, whose script runs the gamut of fight-causing topics (money, being a good role model, friends liking one person more than the other), but omits the loving components that keep this duo together. Loye Hawkins (Louie) and Carey Hart (Ophelia) keep things energetic and interesting, with Hart's trio of powerful breakdowns proving she is a truly talented actress. It's worth seeing if you're sensitive to the trials and tribulations of the heart and can handle the words I love you being taken for granted. -- Dan Hudak Through June 12. M Ensemble Actors Studio, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami; 305-895-0335.