Anyone who’s been a regular at the essential fringe company Washington Ensemble Theatre over the past five years—and if you haven’t, what’s your excuse?—knows damn well that the words “generated by the ensemble” can be problematic. (Recall 2007’s Hedda Gabler, presented as bad rehearsal experiment.) And yet: W.E.T. pushes itself with consistent energy and daring. You want to see what it’ll try next, how it’ll stir things up. So, absolutely, let’s root for the group-generated RoboPop!, which is billed as “an exuberant kaleidoscope” and has something to do with a heroic woman, a battle with a robot, and love’s saving grace. And in the department of stirring things up, the show gives co-directing duties to skilled designers Heidi Ganser (whose costumes have been fundamental to several W.E.T. successes) and Ben Zamora (a lighting wiz with credits including The Tristan Project, Peter Sellars’ visually stunning take on Tristan und Isolde). And here’s betting that John Abramson, a canny local actor and director who guided Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui onto our Ten Best list back in 2004, is worth a look making his W.E.T. performance debut in the cast. STEVE WIECKING [See Kevin Phinney's review.]

Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: April 8. Continues through May 10, 2010

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