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When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 14 2012

It's the villain that makes or breaks an old-fashioned melodrama, and this family-friendly update on the Victorian stage tradition has two good ones. There's "Big" Harry Deal, the frontier lawyer scheming to defraud four would-be grooms, and Star Billings, the avaricious actress who helps Deal lead the poor saps on. Quest Theatre Ensemble's rollicking production feels like a live-action version of a Warner Bros. cartoon, the difference being that the onstage scoundrels (expertly caricatured by Jason Bowen and Kieran Welsh-Phillips) get to heap amusing abuse on the audience, and we get to pelt them with popcorn in return. There are good guys too, but under James Scott III's direction, rooting for them isn't nearly as fun as rooting against Deal and Billings. —Keith Griffith


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