Capsule comments on current stage productions:
AS YOU LIKE IT -- (Jewish Community Center). The Shakespeare Summer Festival, which used to perform in the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington monument, has lost more than a bucolic home with its move to the Jewish Community Center in Rockville. Its production of Shakespeare's romantic comedy is a sorry tapestry, woven by the inexperienced and the under-qualified. Through August 22.
BANJO DANCING -- (Arena's Old Vat). Administrations come and go, but Stephen Wade may well be here forever. In this indestructible one-man show, he plays the banjo, tells some tall tales, demonstrates the noisy art of clog-dancing, and in the process makes friends with just about everyone in the audience.
GHOSTS -- (Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center). Henrik Ibsen's play about the awful consequences of sweeping truth under the rug of convention is not quite the shocker it was a century ago. But there's still absorbing drama here, even if this production has troubles pinpointing it. As Mrs. Alving, widow of a degenerate captain and mother of a syphilitic son, Liv Ullmann is as mesmerizing on stage as she is on the screen. But, given a largely second-rate supporting cast, she often appears to be up there all on her own. Through August 21.
THE NEW IMPROVED BRIDE OF SIROCCO -- (New Playwrights' Theater). This-grab bag of new and old sketches and songs from the antic pen of Tim Grundmann can be as nutty as a fruitcake. But, like fruitcake, it also has a tendency to crumble. Some of Grundmann's daffy notions: the saga of Tarzan and Jane, as Puccini might have written it; the selection of the pope, as if it were the Miss America contest; and the life of Peter Mark Roget, the thesaurus-maker, as a would-be Masterpiece Theatre presentation. The five-member cast is uneven, but Yeardley Smith, who looks like a mushroom with a button nose, triumphs in numbers good and not-so-good. Through August 15.