Theater & art

Critics’ picks: Theater

Ellen Adair and David Drake in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of “Ryan Landry’s ‘M.’ ”
T Charles Erickson
Ellen Adair and David Drake in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of “Ryan Landry’s ‘M.’ ”

Now playing

BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK The charismatic Kami Rushell Smith excels as an African-American maid in the 1930s whose aspirations for a movie career collide with Hollywood’s insistence on racial stereotyping. Lynn Nottage’s snappy, inventive, and pointed satire is directed with assurance by Summer L. Williams, who has marshaled a stellar supporting cast. Through April 27. Lyric Stage Company. 617-585-5678,

OPERATION EPSILON A satisfyingly taut and well-acted production of Alan Brody’s fine, historically based new drama about German nuclear scientists held captive at the end of World War II in a British country house, where they confront — and evade — their moral responsibility. Directed by Andy Sandberg, with standout performances by Will Lyman, Diego Arciniegas, Ken Baltin, and Robert D. Murphy. Through April 28. Nora Theatre Company. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 866-811-4111, www.centralsquare

THE BOOK OF MORMON At its most inspired moments, this production reaches a state of giddy delirium that sweeps the audience along in its wake. With knee-pumping choreography that might be the single funniest thing about the show, this is a scorched-earth satire where nothing is sacred or off-limits. Be forewarned: There is something in this musical to offend just about everyone. Through April 28. Broadway in Boston. At Boston Opera House. 800-982-2787,



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RYAN LANDRY’S “M” This 90-minute deconstruction of Fritz Lang’s legendary 1931 film shows a loving knowledge of the original, even as it ranges far afield into romantic comedy and meditations on authorship. Karen MacDonald, in the Peter Lorre role, is a knockout. Through April 28. Huntington Theatre Company. At Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800, www.huntington

POOL (NO WATER) Mark Ravenhill’s darkly disturbing 2006 play has no water and also no characters, no location, and no staging instructions — it’s just the recollection of what happened when a group of artists tried to make art, and money, out of the accident that befell their most successful member. But this intimate and imaginative production, directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques, is filled with life and love (as well as nudity and a lot of expletives). Through May 4. Apollinaire Theatre Company. At Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea. 617-887-2336, www.apollinairetheatre

SHE KILLS MONSTERS The “she” in Qui Nguyen’s 2011 fantasy is 15-year-old Tilly Evans, who kills Dungeons & Dragons monsters. Actually, Tilly’s dead, killed in a car crash with her parents, but her older sister, Agnes, finds Tilly’s D&D notebook and enters the game in order to reconnect with her sibling. Real-life sisters Jordan Clark and Paige Clark Perkinson play Tilly and Agnes in this high-spirited, swordplay-filled production, and their chemistry is palpable. Through May 11. Company One. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,



PIPPI LONGSTOCKING The unconventional title character defies expectations, and so does director Wendy Lement’s frothy stage version of the classic children’s book. Lement’s approach focuses on joy and whimsy, with a whole lot of chances to dance, dance, dance. Through May 12. Wheelock Family Theatre. 617-879-2300, www.wheelock

THE IRISH . . . AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY Frank McCourt’s celebration, through story and song, of the Irish-American experience and a heritage that confronts adversity with determination, good humor, music, and a love of life. Through April 28. At Davis Square Theatre, Somerville. 800-660-8462, www.frank


Last chance

MASTER CLASS Terrence McNally’s 1995 Tony Award winner about the demands of divahood is almost entirely dependent on the actress playing Maria Callas. Amelia Broome may not channel Callas, but she masters the role, giving a commanding performance, entertaining the audience with her wit, and coaxing some superb singing out of her students as she teaches a master class. Through April 21. New Repertory Theatre. At Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487,