Tamarie Cooper's DOOMSDAY REVUE (the greatest musical ever) Tamarie Cooper, co-founder of The Catastrophic Theatre, brings her annual musical comedy revue to DiverseWorks in a colorful, splashy production. The set, designed by Kirk Markley, is a handsome, elegant skyline of skyscrapers, soon overtaken by bedlam as Cooper enters to start the merry antics — she not only holds the stage, she owns it with a vengeance and doesn't leave it for 90 minutes of uninterrupted frivolity. This revue is ostensibly about the end of the world but is really about energy and enthusiasm and irreverence for all the graven images of our culture. The witty costumes, by Kelly Switzer, are part of the unrelenting fun, especially The Dancing Cupcake and the multi-limbed giant roaches. Tamarie's plans for a blockbuster musical are interrupted by forecasts of imminent doom, and every doomsday prediction from the Mayan calendar to the Rapture comes in for skewering. There is an inspired sequence involving Barbie dolls, including Prostitute Barbie. A brilliant sequence nails the teenage angst of being the outsider; the wit here is incisive, gentle and sweet. And who knew there was so much humor in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Musical theater is there to rebuild the world, with zombies from Cabaret, Into the Woods, Phantom of the Opera, Annie, Hair and Fiddler on the Roof. All the very talented actors play multiple roles and sing and dance. Tamarie can do no wrong, and her skill and professionalism shape this motley bag of concepts into a cohesive whole. A large, triumphant cast brings to life a revue of great humor, considerable wit and inspired foolishness, guaranteeing an evening of delightful enjoyment. Through August 25. Catastrophic Theatre at DiverseWorks, 1117 East Fwy., 713-522-2723. — JJT

The Wrong Side of the Law Theatre Suburbia presents its annual summer "mellerdrammer," complete with boos and hisses, and yes, you are urged to toss popcorn at the actors. The set is the lobby and bar of a saloon/hotel, the time is 1908 and there are period costumes. A pair of evildoers arrive, garbed in black as though fresh from a vampire convention. There is a plot, but this vehicle is about fun, not suspense. The first act is slow, but the second act opens with warmth as the cast parades and sings two oldie songs. These actors are determined that you have a good time, and will stop at nothing. Donna Dixon acts as mistress of ceremonies and also a telegraph operator, and she is excellent, as is Cory Grabenstein as the owner of the establishment. His mother is played by Susan O'Connor, who brings mature charm to the proceedings. The background piano music is ably provided by Alice Smith. There is a cast of 13, some of whom appear to be there to gain experience. Daniel Corrigan as the villain lacks menace and seems too aware that this is a spoof. The co-directors are Doris Merten and Haig Caesar, and they allow too much winking at the audience — it could be funnier if the actors stayed in character. The evening grinds to a halt whenever a character marches downstage to deliver an aside, then marches back to continue the play. What might have been amusing the first time becomes tedious a score of times, and the asides often fall flat. As "mellerdrammer" indicates, this is lighthearted summer fare — bring patience and a sense of humor — the popcorn can be purchased at the theater. Through August 25, 4106 Way Out West Dr., 713-682-3525. — JJT

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