"The art of the illusion is the art of love," explains cave-dwelling magician Alcandre (Deborah Strang) after she unveils to Pridamant (Nick Ullett) visions of his long-lost son (Graham Hamilton). Love and illusion naturally take center stage in Tony Kushner's lyrical adaptation of Pierre Corneille's 17th-century comedy. What makes those themes resonant, however, are Kushner's lush and luscious turns of phrase, reminding us once more of his ability to masterfully manipulate the language. A beneficiary of such language, Hamilton plays the rakish young lover for laughs in a successfully over-the-top manner, guided by the steady hand of director Casey Stangl. In a series of visions conjured by Alcandre, Hamilton woos his lady love (Devon Sorvari), is aided by her cagey maidservant (Abby Craden), clashes swords and egos with his rival (Freddy Douglas), and humors his purple prose–spewing master, Matamore (a perfectly prolix Alan Blumenfeld). In each vision, the character names change but the roles remain similar, except for that of the versatile Jeff Doba, who plays Alcandre's mute minion with expressiveness but showcases a biting incisiveness as the brutally eloquent father to Sorvari's Isabelle. Like the cast, the show's design is solid, though Jeremy Pivnick's eerie lighting and Monica Lisa Sabedra's clever coiffures stand out. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; in rep, call for schedule; through May 19. (626) 356-3100, ext. 1, anoisewithin.org.
Sat., March 17, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 14, 8 p.m.; Sun., April 15, 2 p.m.; Fri., April 20, 8 p.m.; Fri., April 27, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 28, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 6, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sat., May 19, 2 & 8 p.m., 2012