The Real Inspector Hound & The Boundary

Two theater critics indulge their own fantasies and insecurities in the satirical whodunit unfurling before them onstage in Tom Stoppard’s one-act classic. Second-string Moon (James Lyle) dreams of replacing his more powerful absent colleague Higgs; Birdboot (beard-y Daniel Guttenberg) scams on the pretty ladies while indignantly claiming perfect fidelity to his wife. As the critics’ “reality” within the play blends with the silly formulaic mystery of Muldoon Manor, identities flip as quickly as the genre’s clichés. The contrived 1961 piece feels dated in its self-conscious attacks on the fourth wall, but remains junior-high cute. Zachariah Robinson’s serviceable directing might be enhanced by selectively prioritizing the material; as it is, he delivers much of the mundane with the same intensity as the climactic (possibly a vision shared by young Stoppard that’s more clever in concept than in practice). It's paired with “The Boundary” (co-written by Clive Exton), about logorrheic lexicographers trying to re-collate the contents of their dictionary after a perceived break-in. MARGARET FRIEDMAN

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 28. Continues through Nov. 21, 2010

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