opening this week

Breaking Legs
Pasta and play combine yet again at Sylvia's, your home for theater while you eat. Legs is about a Mafia family that decides to underwrite a play, presumably because they need a break from running drugs and murdering other Mafia families. Sylvia's Class Act Dinner Theater, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd, 288-6828, Thurs-Sat 6:30 pm, Sun noon (brunch) & 5:30 pm, $33.95

Veronica's Room
Not to be confused with certain extremely lame sitcoms, Room is a little-known play from the canon of the very well-known suspense master Ira Levin--he of Rosemary's Baby fame. The play follows the charming Irish caretakers of an East coast mansion as they pick a young woman out of a random crowd, then convince her to come home with them and impersonate Veronica, the long-dead daughter of the mansion's original owners. The girl's performance will be for the benefit of Veronica's still-living, but dying younger sister, Cissie, though naturally, things don't quite go as planned. It sounds strange, and it is. It's also a beautifully plotted and disturbing psychological thriller. The Cardboard Box Theatre Company, at the Electric Company, 2512 SE Gladstone, 232-7667, Fri-Sat 10:30 pm, through April 12, $10

one week only

Sad, Sad Town
Jane Austen and Cirque du Soleil don't seem like the most likely combination, but the creators of this work-in-progress swear it's true: they will combine acrobatics with original text inspired by Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, and Austen... and all within the tiny basement of the Brody Theater. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sat 10:30 pm, $6

closing this week

Between Two Worlds
By far the most serious puppet show I have ever witnessed, Worlds is an adaptation of the classic Jewish story The Dybbuk, about an unrequited lover who comes back to posses his beloved. The puppets, which look like classic wooden dolls, are, appropriately, the best part of this show. The puppeteers are exceptional, operating the puppets with such stylized control they become a performance in themselves. Exorcisms, murderous flashbacks, bizarre otherworldly dream sequences, and naked puppets ensue. It's all surprisingly, almost shockingly intense, but very compelling and hampered only by a melodramatic script. While lines like, "I'd like to throw myself against the synagogue walls to understand its tears" are easier to stomach when coming from a puppet, that still doesn't mean they should have to be stomached at all. AS Tears of Joy Theatre, PCPA, 1111 SW Broadway, 248-0557, Sat 8 pm, through Mar 22, $10-$14

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress
Five bridesmaids bail out of their respective weddings and kick it in an upstairs bedroom. Magdelyn Theatre Company, 403 NW 5th, (971) 544-1736, Fri-Sat 8 pm (extended), $12

current runs

The resilient Theatre Vertigo tests out their new space with this Pulitzer-nominated dysfunctional family drama set in the confines of a historical New England home. Theatre Vertigo at the Russell Street Theater, 2512 SE Gladstone, 306-0870, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Apr 6, $15

The Woman in Black
A retired British chap tries to cope with freaky events in his past by reenacting them on a stage. If done well, this reality-blurring play can put quite a scare into you. Lakewood Theatre Company , 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through April 13, $21

Two Sisters and a Piano
Fidel-lovers (and haters) will be interested in this one. It's about two Cuban sisters who get placed under permanent house arrest in 1991 for speaking out against Castro's regime and advocating then-Soviet-leader Perestroika's regime. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St, 241-9807, Opens Fri, runs Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Apr 27, $15-30


Grupo Corpo Brazilian Dance Theater
Gorgeous costumes and a quick, fluid physical ease help make Grupo Corpo one of the sexier dance groups you will see. White Bird, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway & Main, 224-4400, Wed 7:30 pm, $18-$39


Generic Hospital
A revival of this popular show involving recurring characters who improvise new episodes of a hospital soap opera every week. It's like your favorite ER episode, but without hunky Noah Wyle. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through April 12, $10

ComedySportz-After Hours
It's become trite to describe John Breen as hilarious, so I'll mix it up with, the very funny John Breen is amassing an army of minions. He's taught a class on comedy writing, and tonight his students perform the monologues and skits they've created under his tutelage. ComedySportz Arena, 1963 NW Kearney Street, 236-8888, Fri 10 pm, through Mar 14, $5

Support The Portland Mercury

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30