BLITHE SPIRIT | It doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that Noël Coward's 1941 cocktail shaker full of dry martini and ectoplasmic mayhem will amuse. Coward diagnosed his own gift as a talent to do just that. And the local-star-studded revival by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston is both dry and chaotic enough to please. It boasts the debonair-even-when-consternated Richard Snee as upper-crust scribbler Charles Condomine, the skeptical novelist hosting a séance for reasons of research who inadvertently conjures the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, and a deliciously snarky Paula Plum as the ghost who comes to dinner and won't go away. Anne Gottlieb, sangfroid intact but nostrils flared, gives good umbrage as current wife Ruth, who keeps thinking the harsh badinage Charles aims at Elvira (whom Charles can see and hear but Ruth cannot) is meant for her. We also get impish Kathy St. George as an unusual Madame Arcati: less bangle-laden, trance-hopping Miss Marple than harem-clad leprechaun on uppers. Brynna Bloomfield's parlor-and-garden set demonstrates, as it should, a life of its own, and director Spiro Veloudos keeps the supernatural shenanigans moving toward their home-wrecking conclusion. | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through June 6 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$54

DAUGHTER OF VENUS | Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater brings this play by the late Howard Zinn to the Cape, after it got its Boston premiere early last year from Suffolk University and Boston Playwrights' Theatre. It's about a biophysicist confronted with the suicide attempt of his wife and the return of a long-absent daughter in the midst of a professional and ethical crisis. A quarter-century ago, Daughter of Venus was about how best to stop the nuclear-arms race. In the wake of the Cold War, Zinn tweaked it to encompass the War on Terror, the free pass that war seems to have given our government to come up with ever more deadly means to fight it, and the best way for impassioned liberals to combat the powers that be (represented now as then by a sinister if avuncular representative of the Rand Corporation). Still, as it probably did when it premiered at New York's Theatre for the New City in 1985, the drama smacks of a political discussion dressed up in domestic clothing. Here, WHAT artistic director Jeff Zinn helms a cast including Poornima Kirby, Alex Pollock, Elizabeth Atkeson, and Stephen Russell. | Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Julie Harris Stage, 2357 Route 6, Wellfleet | 508.349.WHAT | Through June 26 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sun | $17-$34

GASLIGHT | Patrick Hamilton's 1938 play, which you most likely know from the 1944 film with Ingrid Bergman, gets an outing from Stoneham Theatre, with Marianna Bassham as the London (circa 1880) housewife who thinks she's going mad, Robert Serrell as the husband who encourages her in that belief, and Christopher Webb as the police inspector who sheds unexpected illumination on the husband's frequent disappearances — plus Angie Jepson, Dee Nelson, and Ian O'Connor. Stoneham producing director Weylin Symes is at the helm. | Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main St, Stoneham | 781.279.2200 or | Through June 13 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $38-$44; $34-$40 seniors; $20 students

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