Ennio can best be described as laugh-out-loud hilarious. Italian performance artist Ennio Marchetto engages the audience with side-splitting parody, physical comedy, and origami skill. With presto-changeos of his self-made paper attire, he transforms from one pop icon to another. Lip syncing to some of the catchiest tunes from the '20's through today, he dives into everything from hard rock and disco to Latin and opera. He masterfully takes on not only the semblance but even the mannerisms of a parade of pop icons, including Marilyn Monroe, Stevie Wonder, Slim Shady, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Tina Turner, Pavarotti, and Frank Sinatra. He even busts out (literally) into a Madonna montage. The way he surprises the audience with costume after costume, pulling new props out of nowhere, is magical. He lets his nose lead the way as he parodies Barbra Streisand, lip syncing "People." He changes from a cigar-smoking Fidel Castro to Celia Cruz without missing a beat of "Guantanamera." His neverending "I will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston shows playful disdain. During Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," his paper-doll Rose and Jack gladly jump theTitanic
. He even employs ventriloquism as a device for a few surprising pairings. He multiplies his effort by becoming the Supremes, the Three Tenors, and even a pack of Gregorian monks. The unexpected craziness thatis
Ennio is a must-see. (Through December 31 at the Cuillo Centre for the Arts, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561-835-9226.)-- Rachel Galvin
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Bug, a wild riff on blue-collar paranoia from the author of Killer Joe, this GableStage production is set in an Oklahoma City motel where a hard-luck waitress encounters a Gulf War vet who claims that the government has implanted mind-controlling insects under his skin. Director Joseph Adler stirs up a highly charged thriller, and there is much that might startle: extensive nudity, casual trips to the toilet (in full audience view), and moments of grotesque violence. But it also manages to be a loopy, poignant love story. The result is disturbing and creepy but thoroughly engaging. (Through January 2 at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 305-445-1119.)
Sleeping Beauty, set in swinging mod England, includes full frontal nudity, transvestites, three-way orgies, LSD, rock 'n' roll, and go-go dancers. Not for the kiddies. The craziness begins with Enid Wetwhistle (Erynn Dalton), whose wild dancing and miniskirt shock fashion mogul Sebastian Lorre (Jim Gibbons) and his sidekick, the rotund Ms. Thicke (Jeff Holmes). At first, Lorre wants Enid to take a "personality suppressant." But when Lorre's treasonous sketch artist, Fauna (Jim Sweet), convinces cosmopolitan buyer Anthea (Melissa McSherry) that Fauna's designs outstrip Lorre's, Sebastian has a change of heart. Gibbons' swagger and face-scrunching snarl add comic effect. Sweet throws one-liners around with ease and maintains character throughout, whether smoking, meditating, palm reading, or discussing reincarnation. McSherry is convincing as a conceited, socialite, fashion slave. Hilarious throughout, this show is pure fun. (In repertory with Vampire Lesbians of Sodom through December 19 at Sol Theatre Project, 1140 NE Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-6555, www.soltheatre.com.)
The Water Tower shows Buddy, played by playwright Steven Griffith, in his usual routine of lounging on the front porch of his aluminum trailer deep in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But something is different today. Joleen (Nancy Barnett), Buddy's wife, who ran off two years ago, is back. Sashaying up to Buddy's friend Tate (Paul Homza) in her low-cut, bra-strap-showing tank top, she sets out to make a man of him while manipulating Buddy in the process. As the play progresses, the past hits Buddy like a baseball bat as his brother, Brother (Adam Simpson), drops in to remind him about childhood tragedies and Joleen reveals an unknown secret. The unique and true-to-life dialogue is accented with '70s nostalgia and humor shaped around dark reality. Everything, from Griffith's torn, shabby clothes and greasy hair to the way he slumps in his chair, adds to Buddy's realism. Barnett effectively mixes sexual overconfidence and dominance beneath her trashy, middle-aged exterior. Homza rambles through his lines, but the feral Simpson has an eerie, unwavering focus as he slinks camouflage-clad like a crouched panther, never speaking a word. (Through December 19 at the Lake Worth Playhouse's Stonzek Studio Theatre, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth, 561-586-6410.)