God of Carnage, through Saturday, Feb. 18 at TPAC's Johnson Theatre: "Yasmina Reza's award-winning God of Carnage, now onstage at Tennessee Repertory Theatre, is a strange exercise — a triumph of facile cleverness and snide wit that never delivers on its threat to deepen into something darker. Theatergoers who come for superficial verbal sparring delivered with gusto will get it, thanks to generally strong work from the quartet of David Alford, Jeff Boyet, Shelean Newman and Shannon Hoppe. ..."
Pacific Overtures, through Saturday, Feb. 18 at Lipscomb University's Shamblin Theater: "[Cultural] inauthenticity — or more aptly, homogenization — is a theme of this ingenious, seldom-performed musical. And in the play's service, director-producers Greg Greene and Wes Driver have assembled a savvy cast of 28 players who embrace its distinctive style and successfully make it their own. With white actors performing most of the roles, [Stephen] Sondheim's multi-layered parody of American attitudes and stereotypes about Japan registers with wit and clarity. ..."
Xanadu, through March 3 at Boiler Room Theatre in The Factory at Franklin: "In mounting the Middle Tennessee premiere of Xanadu, Boiler Room Theatre faced some significant technical challenges. First, there isn't enough space on the BRT stage to fully exploit the roller skating theatrics (though congratulations are in order to those who skate and sing simultaneously). Second, a story about a beautiful muse inspiring a young artist to turn an aging roller-skating rink into an arts palace deserves some dreamy glitz — yet when the makeover of the roller-disco venue is completed, we're left wishing for more dazzling effects than BRT's resources allow. But like the strange magic of Lynne's synth-driven compositions, the show's motley material and fairly raw stage talent coalesce into an enjoyable theatrical confection that should please anyone who likes playful stories that needn't be taken seriously — or who wants to revisit the '80s. ..."