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Children of Uganda
These dancin', drummin' kids are a silver lining in the cloud of war and disease (AIDS primarily) that plagues Uganda, and has resulted in 1.5 million orphans, out of a population of 20 million. Obviously, the C of U (naturally, orphans themselves) are spreading awareness for the problems, but they also put on a darn good show, shifting and lilting to the rhythms of the earth. White Bird, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway & Main, 224-4400, Wed 7:30 pm, $18-40

Diabolical Experiments
The Brody's sporadic experiment in which the actors learn new improv formats and styles in front of your very eyes, then perform them. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $10

Starlight Express
From Andrew Lloyd Weber, the man who created the world's worst musical about singing cats, comes the world's worst musical about toy trains that come to life as humans on roller skates. Broadway in Portland, at Keller Auditorium, SW Third and Clay, 790-ARTS, Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat 2 pm, Sun 1 & 6:30 pm, $20-59

Closing This Week

A Visit From William

Butler Yeats
Yeats, God love him, was one of the greatest poets ever, but these four one-acts stink. Each one is a meditation on madness, usually with some sort of ghostly/supernatural twist at the end. But they feel like exercises, not plays; perhaps character studies Yeats did to prepare for his true calling, poetry. The actors here do what they can with the tedious dialogue and claustrophobic conditions, but are ultimately overwhelmed. JWS Portland World Theatre, 5207 SE 80th, 788-3307, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sat 2 pm, $4-7

* The 3rd Floor's

Dollar Days
The nasty yet beloved local comedy group returns from the successful 3rd Floor Takes a Holiday with a new onslaught of fast-paced sketches. Highlights include a blood-doused send-up of the final Friends show, and a knockdown grudge match between Helen Keller and Anne Frank. Sick! With recent momentum from a run at the Chicago SketchFest, the 3rd Floor reappears in a new, slimmer, decidedly girlier incarnation. The addition of Deanna Wells and Daria O'Neill ups the fox factor, but fans of men in skirts and other homoerotic yuks will just have to wait for the next one. TP The 3rd Floor, at the Miracle Theatre, 525 SE Stark, 258-1681, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through March 27, $10

The Wild Child
The latest from the innovative Hand2Mouth company is a collaboration with Signal Light Puppet Theatre to tell the story of a scientist's attempts to civilize a feral child. Hand2Mouth at Performance Works, 4625 SE 67th, 235-5284, Fri-Sun 8 pm, through March 28, $7-$10

Current Runs

Accomplice
Might be worth braving exorbitant ticket prices and Lake Oswego for this one: a suspense/adult comedy thriller starring awesome actors Susan Jonsson, Scott Parker, Amelia Zirin-Brown, and Theatre Vertigo's rugged stallion Ben Plont. Lakewood Theatre Company, 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through April 18, $22-24

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Portland Center Stage approaches Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer-winning play from a purist angle, with a stage dripping with Southern elegance and sunset light. One can hear the cicadas and the lightning bugs buzz in the lazy evening, and the air smells like mint juleps and musky sweat. At just over three hours, the play may force you to wonder, "Can't this abusive family fall apart a little faster?" Jim Peck and Joann Johnson (as Big Daddy and Big Mama) are class actors, capable of filling the stage with their performances. Supporting actors Tobias Anderson, Maureen Porter, and Tim True all inspire more laughs than is probably appropriate for such a dark play, but it is an uncomfortable laughter, more likely just an excuse to breathe. TP Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Tues-Wed, Sun 7 pm, Thurs 12 pm, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through April 4 , $16-51

Max
A new play by Gunter Grass, about a militant activist bent on torching his own cute little dachshund as a form of protest. Now that's what we call a HOT DOG! KER-POW!! Toad City Productions, at the Back Door, 4321 SE Hawthorne, 736-1027, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, through April 24, $10-12

* Sneaky Little Armageddons
Eva Nicely (Firiel Galloway) lives inside a tiny, agoraphobic world--the world of a shut-in, kept company only by the whirling neurosis of her mind. One day, Eva impulsively advertises for a border in her home. Enter Annelle and Dave, prospective tenants who completely shatter Eva's tea-supping convalescence. This original play by Fever Theater is an elegant example of Portland's potential for great, thoughtful works of collaboration. TP Fever Theater at the B & O Warehouse, 107 SE Washington, 233-4420, Thurs-Sun 8 pm, through April 11 (extended), $10-15 sliding scale

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