DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE | Hard on the heels of the Lyric Stage’s production last October, Trinity Repertory Company takes on Pulitzer finalist Sarah Ruhl’s 2008 Off Broadway hit, a smash-up of life and death, profundity and whimsy, that kicks off when Jean answers a stranger’s cell phone — just after he’s bought the farm. Is it too late to fall in love with him? Trinity has Janice Duclos as Jean, Richard Donelly as the deceased, Phyllis Kay as his widow, Barbara Meek as his mother, and Rachael Warren as his mistress; Beth F. Miles directs. | Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St, Providence, Rhode Island | 401.351.4242 | Through March 28 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Fri | 2 + 7:30 pm Sat-Sun | $25-$65

ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE | The Publick Theatre essays Joe Orton’s first success, a perverse bit of tickle in which middle-class pretension is laid like a doily over the ruthless, amoral pursuit of personal satisfaction. The title mystery man rents a room from middle-aged Kath and is soon the object of her sexual attentions — but then she discovers she’ll have to compete with her estranged brother, Ed, who hires Mr. Sloane to be his driver. The delight of Eric C. Engel’s production is that it goes merrily along with the insinuative excess without sacrificing either the sadness or the edginess of a tale in which the characters will stoop to any crisply worded rationalization — not to mention lethal violence — to assuage their loneliness or achieve a bit of pinch-and-tickle. And the actors are terrific, putting across the perfectly calibrated, Pinteresque rhythms of the play (which recalls The Caretaker). Harvard senior Jack Cutmore-Scott, callow and opportunistic but also wounded as the “easily led” Sloane, holds his own against veterans Nigel Gore, flexing authority and need as Ed, and Dafydd Rees, convincingly blind as obdurate old Kemp. Best of all, Sandra Shipley as Kath, in housedress or peignoir, anxiously cowering before her brother or hilariously engineering her fussy seductions, is the perfect marriage of doormat and cougar. | Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through April 3 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $33-$37.50

THE LAST DAYS OF MICKEY & JANE | Merrimack Repertory Theatre commissioned this brand new work from prolific Massachusetts native Richard Dresser (Below the Belt, Rounding Third) that has Whitey Bulger written all over it. “Mickey, a witty, paranoid fugitive ex-mobster from Southie who is on the lam with his no-longer young, Charleston-native girlfriend, Jean, is forced into an early retirement in Europe. With his Boston Red Sox cap never out of reach, he is out of place and away from the one thing he truly loves: his work. While he searches for a way to get back into business and Jean longs for a ‘normal’ life back in Boston, the dysfunctional couple runs into one hilarious situation after another, learning shocking secrets about each other along the way.” With Jack Wetherall as Mickey and Rae C. Wright as Jean; MRT artistic director Charles Towers is at the helm. | Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack St, Lowell | 978.654.4MRT | Through April 11 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm [no evening April 11] Sun | $26-$56

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