Kill Will

With the observation "Swords don't kill people -- Shakespeare kills people!" husband-wife combat-choreography team Josh Brown and Kelly Elliott tickle ribs with cold steel and interactive fun. Their tabulation of the murders, mutilations, rape and even cannibalism in Shakespeare's plays makes it clear that Peckinpah and Tarantino have nothing on Will. This creative, energetic journey is aided by an elegant parade of projected titles, graphs and even an ersatz video game, "Mortal Kombat: Scotland." Don't think Branagh -- think Three Stooges, with enough onstage audience participation to satisfy the ham in anyone. -Brian Leehan


This play is staged in an art gallery, with characters who blend into the crowd. Their cell phones start going off and the play emerges organically, if that's the word for a piece as wired as this one. The cast uses the space well and moves the audience aside when it's in the way. Characters flirt from across the room, read infidelity into text messages and generally descend into digital-driven alienation. (7 p.m. Thu.-Sun., Fallout Arts Initiative, 2609 Stevens Av. S.) -Eric Ringham


At last year's Fringe, the Los Angeles-based duo of Liz Casebolt and Joel Smith won over audiences using a feisty blend of wordplay and movement. With the world premiere of "O(h)" they continue to impress in a piece that pokes loving fun at contemporary dance conventions by exposing the inside jokes, challenging clichés and upending all expectations about what can happen when a man and woman share the stage. Smart work from a pair of savvy performers. -Caroline Palmer

The Princeton Seventh

A delightful trifle that shows parallel but distinctly different takes on an evening in a hotel bar. Ari Hoptman puts together a perfectly nuanced performance as an aw-shucks, enigmatic literary lion. Richard Ooms, Alex Cole and Alayne Hopkins are more demonstrative in higher-octane roles, but Hoptman commands the center of this play. Director/writer James Vculek has a great ear for dialogue and for 50 minutes your entertainment is guaranteed. -Graydon Royce

The Jack Chick Plays

Genius. Fans of Chick's little gospel comic books will find blessed release in seeing the unintentional humor finally made explicit. These six plays are not inspired by Chick or adapted from Chick: They are Chick, verbatim, and to prove it the staff hands out copies of the original books. Director Jean Sramek takes a strong and versatile Duluth cast, aims it at the text and lets it run full force. The result is screamingly funny. -Eric Ringham

The First Five Minutes Are Slow

This show is 45 minutes of pure whimsy. Mary (Kathryn Jorgenson) underachieves at her 9-to-5 job, so her boss orders a work retreat. Instead, she's lost in a topsy-turvy wonderland. This winning physical-theater trio uses an overhead projector, office supplies and desk lamps to create a wacky world filled with ornery characters, scary sea creatures and silly songs. This show bursts with imagination, thanks to three artists who know how to tell a tall tale with gusto. -Caroline Palmer

Femme de la Swashbuckle Box

Is it a dream, a nightmare or just a hallucination? This series of dance dramas from Christine Maginnis is all of these things. Woozy duets, flirtations with death, madcap fights for attention and a giddy chorus line make up this hour-long adventure into the choreographer's subconscious. It's a strange trip, complete with more than a few awkward moments, but it's easy to stick with Maginnis as she dances through the dark corridors of her mind. -Caroline Palmer

An Adult Evening With Shel Silverstein

The late writer, poet and composer Silverstein is known for his offbeat children's books, but this amalgam of six stand-alone vignettes is just as bent and brilliant. Silverstein's wordplay and deliciously demented stories require performers who can embrace the madness, and he is delightfully well-served by Lacey Piotter and John T. Zeiler. -Brian Leehan

The Lifestyle

T.J. Larson's marvelous comedy addresses how the insecurities of a strait-laced couple are chipped away at a swingers' party. A sparkling cast reveals the warm humanity beneath what is stereotypically regarded as tawdry. Larson shows that swingers can indeed have their own stringent code of ethics in order to safely play. Alisa Gingerich and David Gangler endear as the "vanilla" couple who voyage into a brave new erotic world. Joy Rakerd is resplendent as the hostess who has harnessed the wondrous power of female sexuality. -John Townsend

Trouble in Tahiti

With "Trouble in Tahiti," Leonard Bernstein tried to create a popular American opera, blending operatic techniques with musical comedy and jazz. The tale of a day in the life of an unhappily married couple mired in 1950s suburban angst and isolation was self-conscious and ultimately tedious. Robert Neu's direction is overly cute but at least injects some energy into the proceedings. Soprano Meredith Cain-Nielsen and Ben Henry-Moreland make the most of their troubled roles. -William Randall Beard


In glasses, vest, collarless shirt and bow tie, local writer Rob Callahan is at first a curious mix of urban, urbane and nebbish. But Callahan quickly warms to the moment, loosens up, slows his delivery and offers up a delightful show. His wonky stories, Beat poetic riffs and self-referential humor are perfectly complemented by the eclectic musical accompaniment of Jonah the Destroyer. If you're into poetry slams and storytellers, this is a "don't miss." -Brian Leehan

Finding a Fit

Musical-theater performers Vera Mariner and Patti Nieman are joined by Andrea Leap and Kari Nelson in a revue that uses women's fashion as a metaphor for exploring women's identities and body images. Unfortunately, the performers were better than their material. So while their insights may not be profound, the musical performances of a variety of pop tunes are stellar. The results are clever and immensely entertaining. -William Randall Beard