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Life Could Be a Dream Another jukebox musical — the time is the '60s and the music is doo-wop — delivers nostalgia, charm and warm good feelings, but this time with a plot as well. The setting is a basement rec room where the slacker kids hang out, and, yes, "Get a Job" is amusingly staged, with the unseen mother chiming in on an intercom system. Denny (Adam Gibbs) is leader of the singing group, and he's the one with some show-business polish. Eugene (Mark Ivy) is a stereotypical nerd, and friend Wally (Dylan Godwin) drops in and joins the Denny and the Dreamers group; his trademark signature is enthusiasm. The group expands to include Skip (Cameron Bautsch), a mechanic from the wrong part of town; his trademark is to look hunky, which doesn't go unnoticed by Lois (Rebekah Stevens), whose uptight dad is a snob. The suspense is whether the group can get its act together to win a local contest being held the coming Saturday. Director and choreographer Mitchell Greco keeps the pace clipping along, and the voices are pleasant enough to carry the 20-plus songs, such as "A Sunday Kind of Love" and "Unchained Melody." Godwin has the greatest range, most intelligent rendition and impeccable phrasing. There are a lot of physical comedy and broad reactions, and these are appropriate and work well. The finale has a Chorus Line moment that lets us escape the basement and the irritating mother on the intercom. All this is created by Roger Bean, who wrote the long-running hit The Marvelous Wonderettes. This musical, intended for light summer fare, delivers on its promise, providing humor and nostalgia and letting us again relive the tuneful melodies of the '60s. Through October 14. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Pkwy., 713-527-0123. — JJT

Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure Steven Dietz's 2006 "adaptation" of William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle's 1899 play is rather false advertising, as it's technically a rewrite of two Holmes adventure stories, A Scandal in Bohemia and The Final Problem, with some of the old play's dialogue used as spackle to join the two stories together, which doesn't do much justice to the original. There's a tantalizing hint of steampunk gothic in the setting by Mark A. Lewis with brickwork at the back and up the sides, wooden scaffolding and metal Erector-set pylons , but that doesn't last long, for the atmosphere is quickly dispelled by rudimentary lighting that washes over Holmes's bleak London-like fluorescence. Lit up, even the subterranean gasworks are as bright and cheery as a diner. This doesn't help the antique sheen, although Donna Southern Schmidt supplies sumptuous period costumes. In a whirligig plot afoot with whiz-bang action and Holmesean dialogue, Holmes (Chip Simmons) and his "one fixed point," his dearest friend Dr. Watson (Blake Weir), are off on near-death adventures that include multiple disguises, a damsel in distress (Katherine Hatcher), a scoundrel (Marty Blair), blackmail, ransom, abduction, possible asphyxiation, a Cockney safecracker (Brad Zimmerman), the future King of Bohemia (Craig Griffin), sleuthing of the highest kind and shady parlor maids (Leslie Reese), all ending in a final, thunderous confrontation with evil Professor Moriarty (Jeff McMorrough) atop Switzerland's treacherous Reichenbach Falls. Fortunately, the ensemble cast plays the hell out of it, staying one step away from the precipice. They keep a knife-edge distance between parody and reverence, never actually winking at us, although we know they dearly want to. Simmons plays Holmes like an effete cat with a catnip dash of Noël Coward as he springs about with deft tread or suddenly turns to pounce on a point well made. He's odd, like some alien dropped into polite society, which in fact he is, as he unleashes his unworldly powers of observation and deduction. He's perfectly matched with Weir as a handsome, debonair Dr. Watson, who's always one step behind. Although the new play creaks, the crack ensemble cast keeps it well oiled. Through October 14. A.D. Players, 2710 W. Alabama. 713-526-2721. — DLG

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