Stage Capsule Reviews

The Birds This crossdressed pantsing of Hitchcock’s classic gives us Late Night at its best … and worst. When the troupe members shake together Hollywood satire, chintzy drag glamour and bitchy wit in a cocktail of a half-dozen set pieces, the show’s a heady gas. Too often, however, this Birds substitutes showy pop references for actual jokes and relies heavily on the drag outrageousness of it all. There are still some good numbers, though, and Ron Megee, DeDe Deville and Bill Pelletier (as Hitchcock) almost get us through the dull patches. Through May 27 at Late Night Theatre, 1531 Grand, 816-474-4568. (Reviewed in our April 13 issue.)

Mitch Albom’s Duck Hunter Shoots Angel Tuesdays With Morrie launched sentimental sportswriter Albom past the above-the-title crowd to his-name-is-the-title status, which clears things up for anyone who assumed this comedy about tabloid news must be Faulkner. The story, which concerns the media fallout when a pair of hunters become convinced they’ve shotgunned an angel, sounds like just the kind of soft satire that plays well at the American Heartland. Much more promising is that it’s directed by Missy Koonce, whose Bonanza was a wild treat last winter, and that the cast includes Scott Cordes and Nathan Darrow, two of Kansas City’s best. Through June 11 at the American Heartland Theatre, 2450 Grand, 816-842-9999.

Proposals Late-period Neil Simon lets up on the laughs and instead makes salvos toward real feeling — but nothing so raw it might spoil your New Theatre dinner. Proposals — a nostalgia-steeped take on summer in the Poconos of the 1950s — stands out from other wistful Simon plays in its inclusion of an honest-to-God black character, Clemma, who serves as maid for Simon’s quipping neurotics and as narrator for the rest of us. Yes, we sometimes joke about the threadbare celebs the New Theatre ships in for its shows, but if they keep getting folks like Jeffersons star Marla Gibbs, who stars as Clemma, we’ll happily shut the hell up. Through June 18 at New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster in Overland Park, 913-649-7469.

Vote (Twice) for Murder More murder-as-an-appetizer interactive theater from the Mystery Train, the inventive local company that spices its comic mysteries with Kansas City history. In this case, it’s election time in the Prohibition era, with diners taking the part of passengers on a KC-bound train. As always, a corpse turns up, and everyone (including you, your date and your grandmother) is a suspect. The homegrown scripts tend to twist wittily, and audience contributions are often hilarious. And we’ve never guessed the killer. Thursdays through Saturdays through June 10 at the Hereford House Restaurant, 2 E. 20th St., 816-813-9654.

Categories: A&E