Berkshire Stages

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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.

A denotes a highly recommended critic's choice.

THE TAMING: William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" is the inspiration for Lauren Gunderson's wildly uneven, hit-and-miss contemporary political comedy about a Georgia beauty queen who is determined to restore the United States to the promise of its Founding Fathers by rewriting the Constitution. Her scheme involves kidnapping a Southern senator's top aide and a liberal blogger who is out to save a rare rodent from extinction. The performances are energetic, committed and off-the-top but only Tangela Large as the senator's aide manages to find a human element beneath all the noise and bluster and give resonant voice to the "we the people" the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they set out to create a more perfect union (June 9). In repertory through July 30. Selected afternoons and evenings. 1 hour 28 minutes.

Shakespeare & Company, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets — $60-$20. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org; theater box office — 70 Kemble St.

THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS: Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film, the John Buchan novel upon which it is based, and an original stage concept fuel playwright Patrick Barlow's inventive stage adaptation of this tale about an innocent man (played by a steadfastly stolid Peter Langstaff) on the run in pre-World War II England, pursued by the police and a mysterious organization known only as The Thirty-Nine Steps. Four actors play, among them, nearly 100 characters. But in a play designed to use theatrical devices as tools of storytelling, those devices occupy center stage, turning a deliciously imaginative theater work into a self-conscious exercise in manic behavior (June 9). Through June 19. Evenings — Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30. Matinees — Thursday and Sunday at 2. (1 hour 54 minutes)

Oldcastle Theatre Company, 331 Main St., Bennington, Vt. Tickets — $37. (802) 447-0564; oldcastletheatre.org; at the door


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