TO JAN. 20

Cherry Red Productions’ stripped-down staging of Will Kern’s Hellcab is as dark as a Chicago winter morning and as steamy as a Plymouth after, well…you know. The Cherry Red troupe—D.C.’s royal court of psychotronic gore-splat cabaret—turns in a series of energetic performances as seven cast members rotate through 31 roles in a series of slice-of-life vignettes that take place in the backseat of a taxicab. The characterizations mostly ring true and have a surprising amount of depth. A Jonestownesque portrayal of a born-again couple on their way to church sets the tone for a series of creepy ride-alongs that include fighting couples, a sluttish lawyer, and a rape victim. Craig Housenick (pictured) anchors the cast as the hangdog cabbie who lives in a netherworld between involvement and detachment from his fares. Raymond Harris’ roaring monologue as a black cab driver who won’t pick up black fares is one of the most powerful moments in the show, and his portrayal of a man planning to punish a used-car dealer turns B-boy stereotyping on its head. Diane Cooper also stands out in a spacey turn as a stoner who desperately needs a pair of pants. At 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, to Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. $15. (202) 675-3071. (Elizabeth McGraw)