Paige O'Malley and Ellie Nicoll in Elaine May's “Adult Entertainment.” (Ryan Smith)

There is a divinity that shapes our ends, and in this stormy political moment it’s giving us a distracting little porno comedy from Elaine May called “Adult Entertainment.”

The play isn’t new; it was roundly hissed during its off-Broadway debut in 2002, but then critics didn’t get May’s deliriously wonderful movie “Ishtar,” either. (I said it.) The shoe box production by the naughty ensemble the Klunch doesn’t retrofit jokes and innuendo to match this month’s headlines. In fact, like three other fringe-size comedies by women this week, it’s an escape. The calendar gods knew we’d need a laugh.

“Adult Entertainment” is the winner because Joe Banno’s ensemble plays it with loopy innocence, even when characters named Frosty Moons and Heidi the Ho are flashing a little flesh at you. It deals with porn stars out to make an artier grade of movie. The screenwriter they hire is a literary Yale egghead who assigns them classic texts for prep.

“Our Town,” Flaubert and Dylan Thomas quickly blow their minds, and the ditsy book club discussions are a riot. So are rehearsals, and with only two rows of seats in the round at the converted gallery Caos on F, be warned that you’ll pretty much be in the mix.

The retro “George — Don’t Do That!” is not a bit risqué; it’s Catherine Flye’s tested tribute to the midcentury British music hall performer Joyce Grenfell. The title comes from a signature bit with Grenfell playing a harried nursery schoolteacher, and in addition to observational skits that seem like precursors to Lily Tomlin’s galleries, Grenfell warbled optimistic tunes. At MetroStage, Flye is accompanied by pianist Joe Walsh (Michael Lodico played at the performance I saw), with Michael Tolaydo narrating.

The English-born Flye is a comic natural and a whiz with all the accents and personalities. The show is about as dramatic as a tea cozy, but it’s comfort food if you’re craving nostalgia.


Catherine Flye as Joyce Grenfell in “George — Don't Do That!” (Christopher Banks)

Two premieres from emerging writer Jennifer Faletto twist old models with mixed results. “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995” is very “Mean Girls”-y: the set at Best Medicine Rep is a high school bathroom, where all the eavesdropping, scheming and bullying go on.

The script is so full of direct address, and director Melissa Firlit’s cast is so generically perky, that the types (alpha girl, mousy Christian, etc.) don’t get distinct personalities. But the wit and the fast finish are off-kilter enough that the easy-to-handle play is likely to get more productions.

Faletto’s voice is more heartfelt in “This Little Light,” even though its centuries-straddling characters sail in on the fantastical wings of Caryl Churchill’s influential “Top Girls.” The modern 19-year-old is trying to do without her cellphone while camping outdoors. The 1915 cowgirl is on the lam with a stolen map. The 1715 figure fleeing a pirate is a woman trapped in a man’s body. There’s also a futuristic woman dressed in skintight silver vinyl.

The play begins with yearning monologues from each character, gets sharply funny when they all show up in Macy’s, and waxes lyrical as the women gather under starlight at the end. Deborah Randall’s production in Venus Theatre’s soon-to-be-abandoned Play Shack is acted with the right philosophical breeze; Faletto’s no Elaine May or Tina Fey, but the actable combination of winsome and lonesome makes “This Little Light” one of the determined Venus’s best finds.

Adult Entertainment, by Elaine May. Directed by Joe Banno. Through March 31 at Caos on F, 923 F St. NW. $25. Visit theklunch.com.

George — Don’t Do That!, devised and performed by Catherine Flye. Through March 25 at MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria. $45. Call 703-548-9044 or visit metrostage.org.

The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995, by Jennifer Faletto. Directed by Melissa Firlit. Through March 25 at Best Medicine Rep, Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg, Md. $25. Visit bestmedicinerep.org.

This Little Light, by Jennifer Faletto. Directed by Deb Randall. Through March 25 at Venus Theatre, 21 C St., Laurel, Md. $40. Visit venustheatre.org.