Life Beyond the LoopThat loony Fertle family is on hiatus until September, so instead you'll just have to content yourself with Radio Music Theatre's hilarious parody Life Beyond the Loop. The show is as bracing as a headfirst dunk into a bucket of ice water. Here, the superb comic trio (author Steve Farrell, Vicki Farrell and Rich Mills -- with sound- and music-effects wizards Mark Cain and Pat Southard) takes us to Houston-area planned community Precious Trees and proceeds to shake out enough nuts to feed the elephants at the zoo. Among the numerous topical items and persons expertly lambasted: our new accident-prone Metro, the unstoppable developer Tilman Fertitta, the nudie bar/restaurant Kajankers, George and Barbara Bush, the sleazy televangelist Jiffy Dillman and the incompetent Spy Eye News, with its consumer advocate Damuel Madd ("I'm Dam Madd"). There's a plot -- there's always a good plot at RMT's three-ring circus -- but it's only an excuse for timely gags, razor-sharp timing and brilliant song parodies. And let's not forget the Margaret Mueller Miller Mitchell...something, something...Pavilion, the "instant damnation" of Al Franken, Uncle Dan's insane furniture commercials and the dessert of choice at Precious Trees: pudding! Through August 28. 2623 Colquitt, 713-522-7722.
Seussical Billed as a family show, Seussical really is for kids, especially as it plays out at Main Street Theater -- that is, with virtually no irony. Still, there's a lot here for the adults in the audience to enjoy. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's lovely score and libretto are influenced by everything from R&B to Caribbean beats, and the music sticks with you in a happy way, long after the show is over. The familiar characters are charming in the hands of this wonderfully capable cast. The Cat in the Hat, played by the rubbery actor who goes by the single name of JOHNSON (some might remember him as the more ordinary-named Jef Johnson), slithers out on to the stage on his belly, leaps about on red suede shoes and flings himself through the audience, much to the delight of nearby kids. There's also a Who-boy named JoJo, played by Trey Stoker, who could charm any adult. He bounces about the stage as if his feet were made of springs, and sings with gutsy little-boy muscle, flinging his fists out and pitching his head back. And, of course, at the center of all the Seussical strangeness is Kregg Alan Dailey's lumbering yet gentle Horton the Elephant, who is good, kind and true to his word wherever he goes. Dailey inhabits Horton with such disarming honesty that even the Grinchiest grown-up will find himself smitten with the elephant's troubles. Through July 18. 4617 Montrose Blvd., 713-524-6706.