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The Clue in the Old Birdbath.
Red Hen's production resurrects nubile teen detective Nancy Drew, here dubbed "Tansy True." Adolescent literature's beacon of girlish pluck and ingenuity is rendered here as a salty, torpedo-breasted assassin of male domination. With an all-female cast, the work is teeming with lesbian subtext and carnal allusion. Some high-powered little misses -- particularly Gretchen Thomas, Liz Huff, and Elizabeth Wood -- weave the illusion of nutty dames playing both sides of the gender fence. Amanda Krupman's Tansy is a ripe peach, all pout and simmer, hurling her 3D torso about as a dangerous weapon. The whole event is like cheesy, sublime junk food. Through November 6 at Pilgrim Church. Reviewed October 28.

Crossing Delancey.
At the Jewish Community Center, paunchy papas and slightly graying mamas are beaming their way through Crossing Delancey. This is the ideal kosher balm to bolster anyone's disgruntled parents, as it affirms the sanctity of old-world values, saying "phooey" to false promises of assimilation and female independence. For a work that premiered in 1983, it's audaciously reactionary yet somehow as comfortable as an old slipper. It speaks of a benevolent universe that has a brisket in every oven and a Mr. Right behind every pickle barrel. Director Fred Sternfeld specializes in ladling out this brand of schmaltz. He choreographs every shrug and exasperated grimace in a tradition dating back to the days of vaudeville. The cast, especially Elaine Rembrandt's Grandma and Ruthie Grant Friedman's matchmaker, merits a drumroll and a crash of cymbals. Through November 14 at the Jewish Community Center's Halle Theatre. Reviewed October 28.


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