Closing This Week

Life in pre-World War II Berlin is observed by an aspiring British writer in this musical based on Christopher Isherwood's novel. BEST OF BROADWAY, AT KELLER CIVIC AUDITORIUM, SW Third and Clay, 241-1407, Thur-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat 2 pm, ends Aug 20, $15-50

Death and the Fool
Sam Wallin directs Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play. 23 PRODUCTIONS AT THE BACK DOOR THEATER, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Fri-Sat, 10:30 pm, through Aug 19, $7

Kissing Booth (Kaboom!)
The writer of this play, Robert Quillen Camp, has a few consistencies in his work: minimal stage props, a few people who play all the same roles, and a non sequitur plot line, one that makes sense in a philosophical kind of way. Unusual as it is, Camp's recipe produces an engaging, frustrating kind of play, one that makes you think for hours--no--days, after you've left. That said, Kissing Booth didn't quite live up to this standard. The storyline is loosely centered around a fantastic carnival, where one woman sells kisses in hopes of someday moving on. Despite the fact that the play moved too slowly, and that a few of the characters suffered from a consistent dullness, there were moments of brilliance: Gavin Kroeber, (as himself) is by far the best actor, and his change of character, while still maintaining more or less the same personality, was masterful. (Katia Dunn) CONSTANT THEATER AT THE BACK DOOR THEATER, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 233-9933, Thur-Sat, 8 pm, through Aug 19, $8-15

Current Runs

* Harold and Game Piece
The Brody Theater improv group carries on with two shows generated by audience suggestions. BRODY THEATER, 1904 NW 27 Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat, 9 pm, through Sept 2, $8

Late Nite Catechism
A Chicago nun conducts an adult education class in the catechism, where she calls on "students" (the audience) to answer questions and sometimes "reprimands" them in a semi-scary nunly fashion. It's a cute, mildly entertaining play that is also extremely Cathocentric: it assumes the universality of Catholic concerns. Nonbelievers of all kinds will probably find this show irksome because at the play's center is a mushy acceptance of the religion's bizarre brain teaser form of theology. It's also rather pricey for what you get--a one-person show set in a standard classroom. CLOUD 9 PRODUCTIONS AT THE MAIN STREET THEATER, 904 SW Main St, 790-2787, Thur-Fri 8 pm, Sat 2 and 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Sept 30, $24.50-$29.50

Love's Labor Lost
Outdoor theater is truly for the attention deficient disordered: Who needs to pay attention to the storyline when there are picnics to be had, suntans to catch and exposed midriffs? Thankfully, the Northwest Classical Theater Company has chosen to stage one of the Bard's easier-to-follow narratives: four ne'er-do-wells swear off women, love, and lust, but are soon confronted with temptresses and yearnings. The well-staged result is both comical and, at times, pensive. But, outdoor theater has its drawbacks: Sit close for good acoustics and be careful of the dog pooh! (Phil Busse) NW CLASSICAL THEATER COMPANY AT THE TERRY SCHRUNK FEDERAL PARK, SW Third and Salmon, 788-3412, Sat, 2 and 6 pm, free

Matthew Zrebski's sci-fi play imagines a future world in which people are raised with cloned doubles to serve for organ transplants. The story concerns a man and his double (Todd E. Andes), each bothered by the existence of the other. PAULA PRODUCTIONS, AT THE JACK OAKES THEATER, 2820 NE Sandy Blvd, 238-6928, Thur-Sat, 8 PM through Aug 24, $10

The Rock Star
The career of a '50s songwriter who has the chance to impress Elvis is chronicled in this original musical conceived by Greg Tamblyn and others. LAKEWOOD THEATER COMPANY AT LAKEWOOD THEATER FOR THE ARTS, 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thur-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through August 31, $20

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
The comic strip character and his pals face some of life's little challenges in this production from the dinner theater company. SYLVIA'S CLASS ACT DINNER THEATER, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd, 288-6828, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Sept 2, $21.95-31.95