Capsule Stage Reviews: Electile Dysfunction, Snoopy, The Tamarie Cooper Show

Electile Dysfunction Radio Music Theatre has tackled the wild and wacky political season with this funny play, which is full of characters as kooky as the past few months have been. Writer/director Steve Farrell knows just how to put things into perspective. His silly show features the Jones family from Precious Trees, "the most planned planned community" in Houston. Mom, Dad and Junior all support different candidates. The Spy Eye News team finds out about the argument and decides to feature the family as a human interest story. The actors present the newscast complete with commercials; the funniest features a very familiar furniture salesman named Uncle Dan (played by a hysterical Farrell), who sells a "political leaning chair" that leans to the left or the right depending on your preference and a recliner that shoots bullets. Back on the show, Damn Mad (Rich Mills) rants about politics, and the biggest story of the week focuses on the pastor of the biggest church in Texas — it's so big it used to be a whole ranch. Nothing is actually settled during the show, but lots of fun is had as the politics of the hour get chewed over. Through November 15. 2623 Colquitt, 713-522-7722. — LW

Snoopy Snoopy, Charles M. Schulz's musical version of his cartoon strip, isn't great theater by any means. But as directed by Janet Hansen at Company OnStage, it provides a reasonable summer distraction for families. With songs about what bothers Snoopy the dog (L. Robert Westeen) and his kid cohorts, the show, while not officially children's theater, mostly will appeal well to youngsters. The night I saw the show, when Snoopy sung "The Big Bow-Wow," the kids in the audience giggled out loud. And they cracked up every time Snoopy said something snide to Charlie Brown (James Wetuski). But the show has something for adults, too. "Edgar Allan Poe," about the drudgery of schoolwork and the fear of being called upon by the teacher, is charming enough for everyone. And for the most part, the cast sings well. The lone piano accompaniment, by Gary Gillispie, gives the whole thing a decidedly underdeveloped feeling, and the taped-together flats with cartoon scenery painted on them look like they might fall over at any minute. But the rug-rats in the audience didn't seem to mind, and all the parents looked relieved to have found something to do with the kids on a summer Saturday night. Through August 2. Company Onstage, 536 Westbury Square, 713-726-1219. — LW

The Tamarie Cooper Show The Tamarie Cooper Show has arrived at Stages Repertory Theatre, and what a tangy tonic it is. The story focuses on Cooper's real-life new marriage and all the domestic difficulties involved. Her real husband doesn't appear in her musical; instead, the "talented furniture maker" is played by Kyle Sturdivant, who makes an excellent clown as he stares wide-eyed at a hammer that's intended to make him look more butch. Cooper's new family includes a Jack Russell terrier played by Walt Zipprian, who is also very funny playing the insulted actor, lowering himself to bark like a dog. The songs that follow take us through Cooper's new life. She sings about shopping at Target, exercising and diamonds. There are a few missteps, including way too many jokes about Cooper's rear end, especially since she's such an attractive woman. But the good outweighs the not-so-great here. Jodi Bobrovsky's TV-inspired set design is yummy and glamorous. Cooper's cast, including Jennifer Mathieu, Karen Schlag, Karina Pal-Montano Bowers and Cary Winscott, seem to be having the time of their lives. And Cooper is back to doing what she does best. Through July 19. 3201 Allen Pkwy., 713-527-0123. — LW


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