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Critics’ picks: Theater

David Costa

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE A stylish and suspenseful take on Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale. Directed by Caitlin Lowans with a perceptive eye for the forebodingly atmospheric touch and anchored by Benjamin Evett’s intelligent and compelling performance as Dr. Jekyll (pictured), a man who is being torn apart from within. Through Nov. 10. Stoneham Theatre. 781-279-2200, www.stonehamtheatre.org

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL A moving and well-acted production, directed by Scott Edmiston, of Quiara Alegría Hudes’s Pulitzer-winning drama about a veteran of the Iraq war, his newly divorced cousin, and a quartet of recovering crack addicts in an online chat room. All of them are struggling to find their footing, and all of them receive the playwright’s compassion. Through Nov. 16. Lyric Stage Company, Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

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KURT VONNEGUT’S MAKE UP YOUR MIND A world premiere, “assembled’’ by the playwright Nicky Silver (“The Lyons’’) from 11 versions of a play written by Vonnegut about a man who devises a therapeutic approach for the severely indecisive, then confronts a decision of his own when he falls in love with a wealthy woman. Directed by Cliff Fannin Baker. Through Nov. 30. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

THE AFTER-DINNER JOKE Five actors will play more than 60 characters in this 1978 BBC teleplay by the great Caryl Churchill, later adapted for the stage. It revolves around an idealistic charity worker who runs head-on into the political complexities of philanthropy. Directed by Meg Taintor. Nov. 7-24. Whistler in the Dark Theatre. At Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown. www.whistlerinthedark.com

THE NORMAL HEART In Larry Kramer’s 1985 drama, it’s the early phase of the AIDS epidemic, and the fiery writer-activist Ned Weeks, played by Victor Shopov, is determined to sound the alarm about the disease as forcefully as possible, even if it means alienating allies who are less confrontational than he is. Directed by David J. Miller. Through Nov. 23. Zeitgeist Stage Company, at Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.zeitgeiststage.com

DON AUCOIN

SPLENDOR Acclaimed local playwright Kirsten Greenidge returns to the fictional Boston suburb of Bellington, where she set her last play, “The Luck of the Irish.” The play follows a large cast of characters over four decades, as high-school romances, tragedies, and resentments echo down the years. The ambitious and sometimes unwieldy play touches on race, class, and gender roles. Through Nov. 16. Company One. At the Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.companyone.org

JOEL BROWN

THE HOBBIT Matthew T. Lazure’s creative costumes and elegant, two-tiered set stand out as the stars of this charming production. Lazure doesn’t need the film’s elaborate computer-generated animation, because he includes just the right elements to spark the imagination and create the right mood for Bilbo Baggins’s unexpected adventure. Andrew Barbato offers a pitch-perfect performance as Bilbo, allowing us to watch the fussy, nervous homebody grow in self-confidence as the adventure unfolds, while Stephen Benson is a remarkably agile and suggestively slimy Gollum. Through Nov. 24. Wheelock Family Theatre. 617-879-2300,
www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org

TERRY BYRNE

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