Modern Orthodox: Culture clash always makes for great comedy. It's fun to poke fun at ourselves through the archetypes we witness colliding on stage and screen. In this engagingly cute show, playwright Daniel Goldfarb brings culture clash to temple, with a battle between Orthodox Jews and their liberal, Reformed Jew opposites. Before Manhattan financier Ben Jacobson can pop the question to his obstetrician girlfriend of six years, Hannah Ziggelstein, he needs a ring; enter the young Hasidic diamond merchant Hershel Klein. Before sealing the diamond deal, Hershel negotiates to flop on the couple's couch until he meets his own betrothed, for whom he searches via jewdate.com. Farces live or die in the quality of comedic timing. If you can hear the comedy engine's gears knocking, it's a clunker. Director Michael Hall, however, fine-tuned this engine to hum. Metaphorically speaking, Modern Orthodox has the large carat of talented presentation, and it definitely has color. But the play falls short in the plot line's cut and clarity. -- Dave Amber Through July 31. Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-241-7432.
Romeo and Juliet: William Shakespeare needs no justification. And the Shakespeare Project 2005, an ambitious summer-long festival now onstage at New Theatre, holds the immense promise of some of the most exciting drama the world has known. Romeo and Juliet, which will be followed by The Merchant of Venice in July and Macbeth in August, already makes good on much of that promise. Rafael de Acha's direction is sensitive and swift. And the best performances -- from Euriamis Losada's irresistible Romeo to Kimberly Daniels's humorous and heartbreaking Nurse -- reveal shining facets of the kaleidoscope that is Shakespeare. Here are beautiful actors persuading us that American English is the way to make this verbal music truly sing. There is real life in this festival. -- Octavio Roca Through July 3. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909.