The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? The Unicorn Theatre's production of Edward Albee's Tony Award-winning play, directed by Ina Marlowe, is dynamic when married actors Mark and Elizabeth Robbins, playing a successful couple brought to the edge by an indiscretion, are going at it. It's something less than that when they're joined by their miscast costars. But the Robbinses' performances are not to be missed. In a show that features talk of bestiality and other possibilities afforded by the human libido, it's telling that the most shocking words come during the couple's hourlong stage fight, when the husband tells his wife, "Shut your tragic mouth." Through April 4 at the Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main, 816-531-7529.
It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues This mess rises above a dumbed-down revue only a couple of times, mainly when Chic Streetman performs such numbers as Robert Johnson's "Come on in My Kitchen." But this lazily structured and randomly assembled salute to blues music at the Rep is chock-full of badly written segues and a setlist that could just as easily be replaced by forty other songs. Despite the serious intentions -- intense slide projections of slave ships and sharecroppers -- it's a condescending jumble, Blues for Dummies. Through March 28 at the Missouri Repertory Theatre, 4949 Cherry, 816-235-2700.
Tin Pan Alley J. Kent Barnhart, ably assisted by Karen Errington and Seth Golay, cedes the first act of Quality Hill Playhouse's new revue, Tin Pan Alley, to Irving Berlin and the second to Johnny Mercer. Along the way are such standards as "Moon River" and an energetic "Puttin' on the Ritz," the latter arranged to begin at a crawl and end like a locomotive. The show drags a bit when bland soprano Blanche Shively is at the mike. Errington's voice, however, gets richer with age, like a vintage Cabernet Sauvignon. Through April 4 at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 West 10th St., 816-421-1700.
The Velveteen Rabbit In Gene Mackey's story-within-a-story adaptation of Margery Williams' kid-lit classic, actor Jessalyn Kincaid's performance transcends what adults expect from grown-ups gallivanting around in floppy ears and a cotton tail. A lesser talent might have been lost behind all this fluff, but Kincaid communicates the right mix of pain, patience and resolve, animating a social pecking order -- even if it's confined to a toy chest. Though there's an obligatory happy ending, the story isn't without sinister overtones. Rich Holton costars in a performance that recalls the wizard in the film version of The Wizard of Oz. Through April 10 at Theatre for Young America, 5909 Johnson Drive, Mission, 913-831-2131.