Adam Michael Lewis and Sergeant Leon Maxwell Edison VonPepper in The Two Gentlemen of VeronaThe women of The Two Gentlemen of Verona shine in the Prenzie Players' latest production. Maggie Woolley's effervescent Julia and Catie Osborn's enrapturing Silvia - characters courted by the two gentlemen of the title - are especially captivating, thanks to Woolley's and Osborn's layered portrayals of ladies in (and later out of, and then back in) love. They're among a group of female actors here that offer dynamic, entertaining performances filled with notable nuance, aplomb, and, when called for, titillating humor. And they are a credit to director Andy Lord's vision for what seems to me one of William Shakespeare's weaker, less refined plays. The women help add emotional depth to the text, while Lord wisely places the comedic aspects of the tale at the forefront through his cast's energetic performances.

Beth Woolley in Bear GirlPlaywright J.C. Luxton's writing has a beautiful eloquence about it, with poetic word choices and graceful rhythms in his verse. And while I did not understand all of the finer details in the Prenzie Players' Friday-night production of Luxton's Bear Girl - due solely to my own shortcomings when it comes to dialogue delivered in verse - the themes and main plot points were clearly told, and also, thanks to director Cait Bodenbender's treatment of the material, interesting, entertaining, and educational.

Andy Koski, J.C. Luxton, and ensemble members in The Merchant of Venice After six seasons of reverse-gender casting, anachronistic details, audience interaction, and unapologetic tweaking and trimming of classical works, the happily untraditional Prenzie Players have, with their production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, moved in a truly subversive direction: They've gone traditional. Sort of.

As the adage goes, "Dying is easy; comedy is hard." Noises Off sure is. Saying that Michael Frayn's farce requires precision is like saying a fish requires water or Jennifer Lopez requires publicity; the show's very survival rests on the hairbreadth timing of its repartee and comic business. Frayn's work is so tightly structured and its momentum so dizzying that the slightest inappropriate pause can completely knock you out of the show's rhythm, and so I applaud Ghostlight Theatre for not only for tackling the script but often triumphing with it. Dying is easy, comedy is hard, and Noises Off is freakin' hard.

In episode 72 of Gilligan's Island, Hollywood director Harold Hecuba pays a visit and the castaways stage a musical version of Hamlet to try to impress him. For Michael King, who has watched all 98 episodes of the show multiple times, that plotline is a metaphor.

Richmond Hill Barn Theatre in Geneseo is like something from an actor's dream. With "theatre-in-the-round" seating, high ceilings for easy lighting capability, entryways from four sides, and an intimate acting space, one would think any play could succeed with these standards. Even a weak performance can be positively impacted by quality set pieces and a connection with audience members.