Propeller: University Musical Society.
Feb. 20-24 (two different programs). Edward Hall directs this internationally celebrated, innovative all-male British theater company in two of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. In The Taming of the Shrew (7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 & 23; 2 p.m. Feb. 24), an earthy comedy about the battle of the sexes, the action centers on a wealthy merchant’s efforts to marry off his prickly, hot-tempered elder daughter. With one of Shakespeare’s most absorbingly suspenseful plots, Shrew also features amazing exploits, lots of high-spirited impersonations, sharp wits, and even sharper tongues. Also, Twelfth Night (7:30 p.m. Feb. 20, 22, & 24; 2 p.m. Feb. 23), a comedy of mistaken identities and misplaced affections. Viola, a noblewoman shipwrecked on the coast of the mythical kingdom of Ilyria, disguises herself as a man and finds work as a servant to Duke Orsino, with whom she promptly falls in love. But when the duke sends his new servant to court a young widow on his behalf, the widow becomes enamored of Viola. After several more gender-bending plot twists, everyone eventually snaps back into place, but with a variety of delightful and surprising differences. "Propeller specializes in knuckle-dusting Shakespeare that digs for the harshness beneath the lyricism," writes a New York Times reviewer. "Funny, antic, bawdy: the productions are all these expected things. But they also make sure that the chuckles stick in your throat."
Various times & dates, Power Center. Tickets $18-$56 in advance at ums.org & by phone, and (if available) at the door. 764-2538.