A digest of what's playing at theaters in and around the Berkshires based upon reviews by Berkshire Eagle theater critic Jeffrey Borak. Capsules include publication date of review, closing date of production, performance schedule, and production's running time.
♥ denotes a highly recommended critic's choice.
A HATFUL OF RAIN. Michael V. Gazzo's 1955 drama about a returning Korean War veteran trying to shake his twice-a-day heroin habit and build a secure life for himself and his pregnant wife shows its age, naivete and theatrical awkwardness in a labored, effortful production that makes clear why this seldom-if-ever-produced play has fallen into the dustbin of American theater (8/21). Through Aug. 30. Eves.: 8 Fri., Sat. Mat.: 2 Sat. (2:25). Berkshire Theatre Group, Fitzpatrick Main Stage, 83 E. Main St., Stockbridge. Tickets: $42-$62. (413) 997-4444; BerkshireTheatreGroup.org
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. This 1930s New Orleans-tinged production of Shakespeare's enchanting romance doesn't fully spring to life until midway through the second half when the four mismatched lovers collide in the woods in a brilliantly executed rough-and-tumble display that is a showstopper in every good sense of the word. Otherwise, the inconsistently applied New Orleans flavor is a wasted opportunity that offers little in style and even less by way of insight. Ultimately, the success of this production rests with the performances which run the gamut from sincerely applied inexperience to capable to exceptional (7/5). Through Aug. 30. Eve.: 7 Fri. Mat.: 2 Sat.
JULIUS CAESAR. Director Tina Packer's inventive, if, at times, precious Bare Bard approach to Shakespeare's muddled political drama reverberates with currency even if the setting remains ancient Rome. (7/22).Through Aug. 30. Mat.: 3 Sat. (2:13) Shakespeare & Company, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets: $10-$60. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org
KING HENRY IV, PARTS 1 & 2. Director-actor Jonathan Epstein has compressed the two separate parts of William Shakespeare's "King Henry IV" into one play that juxtaposes time periods in its exploration not only of the making of a king and kingdom but also the journey of a son who rejects his royal and filial obligations and walks on the wild side in the constant company of a profligate narcissist until time and circumstance force him to make a choice. As long as this adaptation focuses on Epstein's Henry and/or Henry Clarke's Prince Hal, the production is effective. Unfortunately, for the most part, this rambling, jumbled, often awkwardly staged affair is left in the hands of a company of inexpert young actors and wannabes whose blend of sincerity and earnestess is an unsatisfying substitute for skill and stage know-how.(8/6). Through Aug. 31. Eve.: 7:30 Sat. Mat.: 2 Sun. Shakespeare & Company, Tina Packer Playhouse, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets: $10-$80. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org
TOMORROW IN THE BATTLE. An often less-than-penetrating production of a compelling, penetrating play by British playwright Kieron Barry that examines the ways in which we make moral choices and then deal, or don't deal, with the consequences of those choices as the lives of a prominent heart surgeon; his wife, a civil servant in Britain's Ministry of Defense; and the bright young libidinous female associate of a rising star in the world of trading and finance intertwine in fateful ways (8/28). Through Aug. 31. Eves.: 8 Fri., Sat. Mats.: 2 Sat., Sun. (1:30). Stageworks Hudson, 41 Cross St., Hudson. N.Y. Tickets: $24, $29. (518) 822-9667; stageworkshudson.org
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE. Playwright Christopher Durang weds Anton Chekhov homage / parody to an affectionate story about three siblings, one of them adopted, whose unfulfilled lives reach a turning point on one fateful weekend in Bucks County, Pa. Durang's brilliant comedy gets spotty treatment in an unevenly acted play-it-safe production that falls short of the rich opportunities Durang's masterly writing provides (8/27). Through Sept. 14. This week -- Eves.: 8 Fri.; 8:30 Sat., Sun. / Sept. 5-14 -- Eves.: 8 Fri.; 8:30 Sat. Mats.: 3 Sat., Sun. (2:34). Shakespeare & Company, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets: $10-$60. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org