The Dining Room: A.R. Gurney's dissection of upper-crust WASP life is given a fine production by director Bruce Lecure and a nimble acting ensemble of six playing 57 roles in a series of interconnected playlets. The production is graced by gentle humor and poignancy, but the energy tends to drag at times, and Gurney's writing, as proper and refined as his characters, seems to avoid deep emotions, which, when they do crop up, are quickly passed over. The result is something like the furniture that dominates the set -- stately, refined, but a bit faded. (Through May 23 at Caldwell Theatre Co., 7873 Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, 561-241-7432, 877-245-7432.)
The Gulf of Westchester: Deborah Zoe Laufer's biting satire about the war in Iraq hurtles along with such passion and intensity that it's breathtaking. Laufer doesn't get the gold at the finish line -- she cartwheels out of control well before that -- but her reckless bravado makes for the kind of agitprop, bare-knuckle theater that rarely makes an appearance on contemporary stages. Laufer's go-for-the-throat anti war stance doesn't offer any new ideas, but Louis Tyrrell's flawless staging and inventive use of video sequences makes for an intriguing production. The outstanding cast features Kim Ostrenko as an icy pro-Bush housewife and Stephen G. Anthony as her back-slapping husband. (Through June 13 at Florida Stage, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan, 561-585-3433, 800-514-3837.)
Master Harold'... and the boys: Athol Fugard's modern classic has to do with the stormy relationship between a white teen and two black family workers in South Africa of 1950. The fine GableStage production features assured, understated direction from Joseph Adler that is supported by excellent, evocative production design. Paul Bodie and Rodney Gardiner do well as the workers, finding humor and dignity in quite ordinary lives, but John Bixler's strident performance as the teenaged title role misses much of the character's poignancy. (Through May 23 at GableStage, Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 305-445-1119.
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