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On Stage 

Capsule reviews of current area stage shows.

The American Revolution -- Playwright Kirk Wood Bromley has crafted a look back at our country's first war that fairly bursts with inventiveness, comic wordplay, and Shakespearean riffs; his edgy wit tumbles over itself without ever getting in its own way. It all begins and ends with George Washington, who is considered a bit of a dip by the Continental Congress, a man not fit to hold the scabbard of that successful warrior, General Benedict Arnold. But John Adams twists some arms, and ol' Mahogany Mouth is named leader of the rebels' ragtag army. From there, it all plays out as one might expect, in terms of plot points (you hardly need to be a history buff to keep this well-known story straight). But this production offers up a delightful surprise in almost every scene, thanks in large part to director David Hansen's ability to inspire and support a bundle of fabulous characterizations. This free outdoor performance makes for a breezy, laugh-out-loud couple of hours on Wade Oval. Presented by Bad Epitaph Theater Co. through July 1 at Kulas Community Stage, Wade Oval in University Circle, 216-556-1919. -- Christine Howey

Oliver Twisted -- It has been claimed that there's a gene in some people's DNA spiral that compels them to seek out risky, potentially harmful activities, such as rock-climbing, deep-sea diving, and parking at expired meters in Cleveland Heights. True to their risk-adoring genes, the seven-member group titled Oliver Twisted (made up of former members of the now-defunct Second City Cleveland) does audience-inspired material exclusively, without the safety net of scripted modules. And thanks to a fortunate blending of physical types and personalities among the performers -- along with their determined insistence on yanking every loose comedic thread -- this is an improv experience that will leave you laughing far more often than wincing. The troupe's resident nutcase, Randall Harr, is a fairly normal-looking fellow who transforms into a maniacally, often hilariously intense embodiment of whatever animal, vegetable, or mineral he's been assigned. Mondays at Hilarities Comedy Club at Pickwick & Frolic, 2035 E. 4th St., 216-736-4242. -- Howey

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