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TO MAY 7

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Caryl Churchill’s tricky, time- and gender-bending romp is really two feminist comedies in one: a Victorian, white-woman’s-burden-in-Africa satire centering on hetero, homo, and interracial infidelity followed by a century-later reworking of the same themes that oddly features characters who’ve only aged 25 years. Churchill’s playfulness doesn’t end with such temporal oddities. At her insistence, men play women, women play men, adults play infants, and a white actor plays a black servant—all uproariously and with no loss of clarity in Delia Taylor’s antic staging. The director taps into most of the play’s humor and is wonderfully inventive in her use of slapstick. If she’s somewhat at a loss when the evening turns melancholy in its later stages, that’s at least partly due to a certain mushiness in the script. Freedom Stage’s production is neither as lavish nor as sophisticated as Arena Stage’s award-winning staging was a decade or so ago, but it definitely has its pluses, not least of which is the delicacy with which Jeff Lofton’s sweet, young eyelash-batting Betty in the first half finds her mirror image in Megan Morgan’s matronly, mistily blinking Betty in the second. Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; matinee Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Church Street Theater, 1742 Church St. NW. $15-18. (202) 726-3673. (Bob Mondello)