Head to Chelsea and hang on as you watch Apollinaire Theatre’s fantastic production of TOUCHING THE VOID. It’s a real life tale of high-climbing adventure brought to surreal life by some kick ass theater making. In his book, Joe Simpson tells the story of his adventure with fellow climber Simon Yates in 1985 as they scaled a peak in the Peruvian Andes called Siula Grande by way of its treacherous and previously un-traversed west face. Going up was impossible. Coming down was worse. I did not know the outcome and I won’t spoil it for you. But David Grieg’s theatrical adaptation grabbed me and didn’t let go.

Not only was it a tutorial on climbing, but made me appreciate why some “do or die.” Touching the void is “Life– times a thousand.” In a tiny theater space, with only tarp-covered bleachers and a pile of chairs, Danielle Fauteux Jacques’ ingenious direction and 4 killer performances took me there. Patrick O’Konis as Joe and Kody Grassett as Simon deliver rugged, committed performances¬† conveying the visceral thrills and gut-wrenching stamina of diehard climbers. Parker Jennings as Joe’s bereft sister Sarah ushers us in and out of Joe’s dreams, and Zach Fuller as a cool dude with a guitar watching over basecamp, ironically keeps us grounded with comic relief.¬† You’ll start breathing again when it’s over. At Apollinaire Theatre EXTENDED through MAY 26!

For a different kind of derring-do, head to Concord to see Terrence McNally’s THE FULL MONTY presented by THE UMBRELLA STAGE COMPANY! You know this hit musical about a bunch of down on their luck working class guys hoping to enhance their dwindling pay checks by upping the ante and dropping trou. Yes.¬† The full monty. Baring it all onstage for one night only!¬† But they end up getting more than they bargained for–namely, fleshing out their lives:¬† finding themselves, rekindling relationships, deepening their camaraderie, and bonding with the entire community. It’s all about vulnerability, folks.

This is a very good production poised between the sweet and the sexy, with an excellent veteran cast– among them Will McGarrahan, Joshua Wolf Coleman,¬† Aimee Doherty, and Tim Lawton who¬† give us full-throated, vivid, endearing characters. They move beyond the prosaic and into the poignant.¬† Jennifer Bubriski as the been-there, seen-it-all accompanist –wisecracked me up.¬† Louis Brogno has the moves. Under the direction of Leigh Barrett– queen of the vocal–the cast delivers some excellent musical numbers and at least one vocal duet which stunned with its power and beauty: John Breen and Jacob Thomas Less — you know who you are. See it all onstage at THE UMBRELLA STAGE COMPANY through MAY 19! Take your mom for mother’s day– it just might tickle her fancy.