"The Blue Room," David Hare's linked naughty tales of paired couples from various social spheres, opened Thursday night in the New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park. Richard Lambert, who plays multiple roles opposite Lisa Ludwig, knows you have to be alert when presenting anything on stage remotely involving sex, lest the whole thing collapse into absurdity. "You have to drill it and drill it, until the giggles disappear," Lambert said. But then, he added, some of the laughter is built into the sparkling script. In any case, Hare has spared the actors the need for simulating the sexual denouement of these 10 interlinked vignettes. Based on Max Ophuls' 1950 film "La Ronde," the play pitches the stage into darkness just when the couples get together and then a sign announces the number of minutes they spend in Eros' hot embrace. (In Ophuls' film, the sex was coyly cut out by the introduction of a censor's scissors snipping off a strip of film.) "The Blue Room," directed by Robert Waterhouse, will run through Nov. 11, but the story will continue in a different form with the opening on Nov. 15 (through Dec. 1) of Eric Bentley's "Round Two," a take on the same script but from a gay perspective. From there the New Phoenix season moves on to Peter Schaffer's farce of mistaken identity, "Black Comedy" (March 14 through 31), and closes with "2 White Guys and a Guy Named White" (May 30 to June 1), a Motown cabaret that will be a benefit for the theater.
The big guy returns
Staggering in on his original platform shoes and sporting his trademark neck-piercing electrical conductors, Frankenstein's monster returns with the opening Thursday of Mystery Theater Company's production of Fred Carmichael's "Frankenstein" at the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster. The play, directed by Gerry Kelly, will feature plenty of eerie special effects, including a heavily made-up Les Bailey as the monster. It runs through Oct. 28. For tickets, call 683-1776 or go online at www.lancopera.org.