The Foreigner— Charlie is shy — so shy, in fact, that when he visits a Georgia hunting lodge on vacation, he has no interest in talking to anyone. So he poses as an unassuming foreigner who speaks absolutely no English, which sounds great until everyone he meets begins confiding in him.
Through July 14 at the Porthouse Theatre, 1145 W. Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets are $13-$36. Call 330-672-3884 or visit dept.kent.edu.
The Merry Wives of Windsor — Shakespeare's story about a fat knight who, in a dire financial situation, decides to woo two wealthy married women. When they figure out his plan and determine that an overweight knight isn't the best candidate for an affair, they use the situation for their amusement. Hilarity ensues.
July 4 at James A. Garfield Historic Site, 8095 Mentor Ave., Mentor. Admission is free. Call 216-381-1680 or visit cleveshakes.org.
Sweeney Todd — This bloody and brooding venture into the mind of a mad barber in the bowels of London is like being handed a cup of three-day-old coffee grounds and lemon peels. But an engrossing score by Stephen Sondheim lifts it out of the muck, and the book by Hugh Wheeler spins plenty of thrills. In this production, the singers give Sondheim's muscular music its due under the musical direction of Jodie Ricci, with some stellar work by the featured players. Unfortunately, an acting void at the center and volume issues tend to soften scenes that should gleam and glisten. (Howey)
Through July 27 at Cain Park, corner of Lee and Superior roads, Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $15-$24. Call 216-371-3000 or visit cainpark.com.
Titus Andronicus — Shakespeare's first play, Titus is pretty much a nonstop orgy of sex and violence, with multiple revenge plots being eagerly pursued in the bloody streets of ancient Rome. Staged for free by the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival at outdoor venues throughout the area, the play offers some gripping moments, but the overall impact is weakened somewhat by excessive surface intensity and a paucity of nuance in some scenes. Under the inventive and adept direction of Allan Byrne, CleveShakes does a creditable job given a nickel and dime (make that two nickels) budget and some young actors. Festival veteran Allen Branstein gives his all as the deeply conflicted Titus. Though he never quite latches onto the music and flow of Will's words, he conveys this man's strength and his deep need for payback. Squeezed into a bit over an hour and a half, the production tends to rush some scenes that deserve more time. (Howey)
Playing in rep with The Merry Wives of Windsor, through August 7 at various outdoor sites. Visit cleveshakes.org for schedule.