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    Critics’ picks: Theater

    Now playing

    LIFE OF RILEY An intimate staging of Alan Ayckbourn’s dark comedy does the playwright proud. Maureen
    Adduci leads a terrific cast. Through March 2. Zeitgeist Stage Company. At Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.zeitgeist
    stage.com

    TERRY BYRNE

    Last chance

    LEGALLY DEAD Dan Hunter’s black comedy about a missing dad, a missing Yorkshire terrier, a missing will, and finding Jesus at a Christmas Eve family reunion on the Gulf Coast of Florida is uproariously funny, and in Steven Bogart’s rapid-fire production, the four actors even manage to make their self-absorbed characters likable. Through Feb. 24. Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. 866-811-4111, www.bostonplay
    wrights.org

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    JEFFREY GANTZ

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    HONK! A retelling of “The Ugly Duckling,” this is the rare family musical that manages to be childlike without becoming childish. All the pathos of being “different” comes through, but in a joyous celebration that will delight audiences of every age. Through Feb. 24. Boston Children’s Theatre. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-424-6634, www.bostonchildrenstheatre.org

    OLIVER! This production of the Lionel Bart musical finds Dickens’s sense of hope and love in the midst of degradation and despair, and energizes the story with a terrific vocal ensemble of children and adults. Through Feb. 24. Wheelock Family Theatre. 617-879-2300, www.wheelock
    familytheatre.org

    TERRY BYRNE

    THE LAST WILL Robert Brustein’s speculative vision of Shakespeare’s agonizing last days gets stellar performances from Allyn Burrows as Shakespeare; Brooke Adams as his wife, Anne; and Jeremiah Kissel as Richard Burbage. Through Feb. 24. Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Suffolk University.
    At Modern Theatre. 800-440-7654, www.comm
    shakes.org

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    JOEL BROWN