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Critics’ picks: Theater

Danielle Fauteux Jacques

SONGS OF THE DRAGONS FLYING TO HEAVEN Young Jean Lee’s confrontational comedy looks at racism and identity politics with an unflinching combination of humor and fury. Director Danielle Fauteux Jacques elicits fearlessly transparent performances from her ensemble. (Pictured: Liz Eng, Hyo Jeong Choi, Nicole Dalton, Kaoru Yano.) Through Jan. 11. Apollinaire Theatre Company. At ChelseaTheater Works. 617-887-2336, www.apollinairetheatre.com

TERRY BYRNE

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HENRY VIII The structural issues bedeviling this shapeless and vexing play are ultimately not soluble, but director Tina Packer does an artful job of camouflage in an inventive production that features the charismatic Allyn Burrows in the title role. Through Jan. 5. Actors’ Shakespeare Project. At Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. 866-811-4111, www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

VENUS IN FUR In this comedic drama by David Ives, directed by Daniel Goldstein, erotic gamesmanship abounds when a playwright-director auditions a mysterious actress for his new play. Through Feb. 2. Huntington Theatre Company. At Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

DON AUCOIN

THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD Icelandic director Gisli Örn Gardarsson and British playwright David Farr shape the classic tale as a grab bag: Marion-centric romance, ribald comedy, stabby drama, and acrobatic exercise. There’s also an Americana band and a shark. Through Jan. 19. American Repertory Theater. Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org

JOEL BROWN

Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.
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