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Capsule reviews of current area theater presentations. 

The Music of Jacques Brel -- Cleveland has a notable history with this Belgian musician, since Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris played more than 500 performances at Playhouse Square and had a role in preventing those grand theaters from becoming parking garages. Brel himself was a composer and lyricist of immense passion, commenting on the vagaries of love, loss, and war with unabashed emotionalism, often shaded with irony and veiled resentment. When performing his own work, he employed a broad, energetic style that left nothing to the imagination. Director Paul F. Gurgol attempts to snare that energy, but it doesn't work often enough in a show that frequently feels off-center. The five-person cast features performers who have garnered rave reviews in previous Kalliope offerings, and at times their skills shine through; the women generally fare better than the men, particularly Joan Ellison and Jodi Brinkman. Through March 11 at Kalliope Stage, 2134 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-321-0870. -- Christine Howey

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