THE ROAD TO CANTERBURY
A modern-day re-imagining of Chaucer's tales, with the audience making a pilgrimage around Queen Elizabeth Park, led by a perky tour guide and Chaucer expert. Things quickly go off-script, however, as members of the tour party take over and tell their own tales, updated versions of the originals. Presented by Itsazoo Productions, well-known for their inventive, site-specific works. Until Aug. 21, Queen Elizabeth Park, meet at Bloedel Conservatory, 7 p.m.; Saturday matinees 2 p.m.
Not only is the all-female Scarlet Satin Productions presenting a new work set in a laundromat - they've saved on design by staging the show in an actual working laundry. The play follows a middle-of-the-night spin cycle in 1979 between two woman from different backgrounds who discover they have more than dirty undies in common. Tonight until Saturday and Aug 19-22, Swan Laundry, 1352 Burrard Street at 8.30 p.m.; see scarletsatin.wordpress.com for more details.
THEATRE UNDER THE STARS
The annual Malkin Bowl summer musical program returns, this time with Annie and Thoroughly Modern Millie playing alternate nights on the outdoor stage. Until Aug. 22, Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park at 8 p.m.; see tuts.ca for full schedule.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
Rachel Ditor has crafted a version of Shakespeare's notoriously problematic work that smoothes over the play's fault lines. Sure, it can be hard to care about scheming Helena (Lois Anderson) and caddish Bertram (Craig Erickson), but Ditor's exquisite staging makes up for the frustrations of the plot. Set in the Victorian era, the production is ably supported by Pam Johnson's excellent set design and an impressive ensemble. Until Sept. 19, Vanier Park; see bardonthebeach.org for full schedule.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
Purists beware: This is a gloriously irreverent production. Director David Mackay's confection throws together puppets, pop music and Blackadder-esque sensibilities. If it doesn't quite work - the pop music is overplayed and some of the vulgarity overstated - the high points still carry the breezy farcical mood. Ryan Beil and Shawn Macdonald are standouts as the Dromio twins, with Kevin MacDonald (Antipholus) in his first season at Bard quickly proving himself one of the festival's best players. Until Sept. 26, Vanier Park; see bardonthebeach.org for full schedule.
The Bard's first production of Othello disappoints. As the Moor of Venice, Michael Blake lacks the right towering physical presence and gravitas. Bob Frazer's Iago, more silent-movie villain than arch manipulator, is played for laughs. Best are Kevin MacDonald as Cassio and Jennifer Lines as Emilia. Until Sept. 25, Vanier Park; see bardonthebeach.org.
This spoof musical comedy features a fictitious Christian boy-band from Ohio: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham are the Altar Boyz having a wild time spreading the gospel. Music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker; book by Kevin Del Aguila. Extended run until Aug. 29, Arts Club Theatre Company; see artsclub.com for full schedule.