Capsule comments on current stage productions.
ANIMAL CRACKERS -- (Arena Stage). Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo -- or at least their latter- day look-alikes -- play havoc with the snooty weekend guests in a Long Island mansion in this loving recreation of the 1928 Broadway musical. Douglas Wager has directed the feather-brained antics with a juggler's precision, and the nutty production numbers look as if they'd tumbled from Busby Berkeley kaleidoscope. The insanity is protracted, but often impossible to resist.
BANJO DANCING -- (Old Vat Room). With nothing more than his zest for the banjo, clog-dancing and tall tales, Stephen Wade has come up with a most ingratiating one-man show.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS -- (Folger). Shakespeare's merry medley of mix-ups is given a novel update by director John Neville-Andrews, who sets the action in a posh Mideast hotel just before World War I. David Cromwell's performance, as a wide-eyed British dandy who stumbles upon his long-lost twin, is a marvel of comic understatement. Not all the other actors are quite so adroit, but they'll do.
THE DINING ROOM --A deft and witty chronicle of the WASP way of life, as it unfolds in an upper- middle-class dining room. A.R. Gurney Jr.'s comedy is made up of several dozen overlapping scenes that hopscotch back and forth over the decades. The six actors in the cast, headed by Barry Nelson and Frances Sternhagen, change roles with each scene, playing tots in one, grandparents in the next. Gurney's point: The dining room, once a bastion of manners and civilization, is going the way of the dodo.
K-2 -- (Kreeger Theater). Two mountain climbers find themselves stranded on a ledge near the top of K-2, the world's second-highest mountain, in Patrick Meyers' nail-biting drama. Can they get down? Some of the philosophizing is pretty heavyhanded, but the realism of the production, Ming Cho Lee's chilling mountain set, and an onstage avalanche will take your breath away.
SUGAR BABIES -- (Kennedy Center). The glory that was burlesque never looked shoddier than it does in this tired retread of the Broadway hit. Eddie Bracken brings a pixie's innocence to the smutty blackout skits. However, neither Toni Kaye nor Mimi Hines can lift the songs and dances out of the realm of the mundane, and the variety turns are on the order of lesser Ed Sullivan. This weekend's your last chance.