On Stage This Week 

All That Fall — This Samuel Beckett play, originally intended for radio, centers around elderly Maddy Rooney, who walks to the train station to meet her even older and blind husband, and then walks back home with him. Along the way, Maddy encounters different folks and assorted animals from the town, and those interactions serve to throw Maddy into introspection about her life. It's all a bit challenging, with some charming performances fighting against stage business that is often nonsensical. (Howey) Produced by Cesear's Forum through October 16 at Kennedy's Down Under, 1615 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $15; call 216-241-6000 or go to cesearsforum.com.

Closure — A dramatization of 28 poems by local poet/playwright Mary Weems. You'll see objects left behind in foreclosed homes animated by music, dance, and multimedia presentations. Through October 10 at Karamu House, 2355 East 89th St. Tickets are $20-$25; call 216-795-7070.

My Fair Lady — Ask any theater buff to name the five best musicals of all time, and chances are My Fair Lady will make the list. Its incomparable score by Lerner and Loewe may never be surpassed for tunefulness and wit. Trouble is, there's more to a musical than music, and that's where this production at the Beck Center lacks a bit of traction. Although the singers acquit themselves admirably, backed by a lush 13-piece orchestra under the baton of Larry Goodpaster, much of the rest of the evening is bruised by barren staging, misdirected acting, and an enervating lack of pace. (Howey) Through October 17 at the Beck Center, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood. Tickets are $10-$28; call 216-521-2540 or go to beckcenter.org.

Othello — Shakespeare's Othello has sometimes been described as a battle of wills between the noble Moor and his right-hand man Iago, but it's actually more like a stalking. Iago, a fully-formed psycho, is intent on destroying the blithely unsuspecting Othello, and this stirring production by the Great Lakes Theater Festival explores that conscienceless obsession with terrifying exactitude. In the end, this Othello is less a tragic hero than a tragic victim ensnared by a manipulative psychopath. And that is what gives this production its sublime resonance. (Howey) Presented by the Great Lakes Theater Festival through October 31 at the Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St. Tickets are $15-$70; call 216-241-6000 or go to greatlakestheater.org.

The 39 Steps — The stage version of Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 spy caper turns the original's grins into guffaws thanks to a splendidly wacky production. The craziness starts with a four-person cast, two of whom play the central characters and the other two who render virtually everyone else in London and Scotland. If you know the movie, you will appreciate many of the scene-by-scene send-ups. But that knowledge isn't at all necessary to enjoy this romp. (Howey) Through October 10 at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $10-$57; call 216-795-7000 or go to clevelandplayhouse.com.

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  • No Way to Treat a Lady

    Slow pacing and off-center performances hamper Beck's My Fair Lady
    • Sep 22, 2010
  • Fun on Wheels

    Everything's moving in The 39 Steps
    • Sep 29, 2010
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