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Opening This Week

Cupid & Psyche
Cupid wants Psyche to love him for who he is, not for how handsome he is, so he devises a plan to win her heart without ever showing his face. I know his pain. Stark Raving, at the CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Opens Fri, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through June 29, $10-20

Hey, Don't Grab Me There!
Crazy late night sketch comedy with a brutal title. Stark Raving, at the CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Opens Sat, runs Fri-Sat 11 pm, through June 29, $12

Closing This Week

Elements
The most impressive dance productions are those that command an awe of the dancers athleticism, interesting and varied musical accompaniment and simple, functional, yet intriguing costuming. The four pieces of which this show is comprised accomplish all of these goals. Each contains a great variety of movement that showcases the rigorous training and natural abilities of the dancers. While "Evidence of Division" employs extensive demonstration of partnered synchronicity, the solo piece "Versus" is rife with breathtaking gymnastic contortions. The dancer's body continuously ripples from the air and onto the floor, captivating the observer with fascinating unpredictability, while live musical accompaniment reinforces, the immediacy of the performance's energy. Both "Air" and "Night & The Golden Hour" use six dancers, and their combined movements and directions are a dervish of recombinant choruses, solos, and partnerships. The music for "Night & The Golden Hour" stands out particularly as a catalyst for the dizzyingly infectious movements. In all the pieces, Mathern's costuming allows for full range of movement and observation of the nuances in her choreography, using fitted leotard materials. The addition of flowing, gauzy tops or pants are sheer and fluid enough to compliment gracefulness without being obstructive. MARJORIE SKINNER Conduit Studio, 918 SW Yamhill, 4th Floor, 221-5857, Fri-Sun 8:30 pm, Sun 2 pm, through May 26, $13

Pump Boys and Dinettes
The Pump Boys, who sell gas on Highway 57, sing country western songs for two hours with the Dinettes, who own the diner next door. Triangle Productions, at the World Trade Center Auditorium, 121 SW Salmon, 239-5919, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 1 pm, through May 25, $20-25

The Birthday Party
A good production of The Birthday Party exploits the suspenseful, yet darkly humorous, dynamic that exists between the moocher, Stanley Weber, and the two mysterious men, Goldberg and McCann, who come to take him away. Profile has failed to do so. Leif Norby, as Stanley, is excessively obnoxious and abrasive, a quality that makes implausible his character's ultimate descent into madness at the hands of the men. The Profile Theatre Project at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 242-0080, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through May 26, $12-20

Uncle Betty
Improv, comedy style. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Sun 7:30 pm, through May 26, $5

What the Butler Saw
Farce about a British psychiatrist who runs an asylum and tries to keep up with the demands of his sexually frustrated wife. Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5 pm, through May 25, $15-19

Current Runs

Killer Joe
Uber redneck, Chris, and his father, Ansel, hire a hitman/cop named Killer Joe to kill Chris' mom so they can cash in on her life insurance policy. When Chris can't come up with the money to pay Joe for his services, Joe requests Chris' younger sister, Dottie, as a retainer...and Chris agrees. This story is standard potboiler material that is supposed to be given new life because it is happening in the bizarre confines of trailer park culture. Unfortunately, playwright Tracy Letts' portrayal of his hick family is so riddled with clichés that the story becomes nothing more than a skeleton supporting a series of bad redneck jokes. And as if Letts' unoriginal and base sense of humor weren't scary enough, he also throws in a few moments of sheer degradation (one involves the forcing of a female character to give oral sex to a drumstick) that add nothing to the advancement of the plot or to the development of the characters, and thus are nauseating in their pointlessness. IFCC, 5340 N Interstate Ave, 241-1ART, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through June 16

Out of Nowhere
Like a tornado or a fit of truth, Brody improv stems out of nowhere. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 9 pm, through June 29, $10

The Bad Infinity
Four people confront a bad infinity through visits with a suicidal dog, a dead Santa, and fallen Senator Armitage. Defunkt Theatre, at the Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 993-9062, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through June 22, $8-15

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