BRENT OR BRENDA?
As a riff on Glen or Glenda, the notorious Ed Wood's 1953 film plea for cross- dressing liberation, Scot Augustson's play is a bit of a messy disappointment; he hasn't hit even half of the camp material the movie provides, and director Ed Hawkins isn't exactly a master of discipline. But when Augustson goes off on his own typically gonzo, tasteless tangentslike imagining a test rabbit in a cosmetics lab asking her fellow bunny if her eye shadow makes her look whorishthis determinedly scruffy transvestite meditation gets its laughs. It also has an ensemble any comedy would kill for, including Jennifer Jasper, Stacey Plum, and Mar. T. Feldman (above, left to right): Jasper is always game, Plum is so calmly hysterical it's a shame she's never been given the chance before, and Feldman, well...just be happy she bears a striking resemblance to madwoman Imogen Love and know that she's worth the price of admission. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St., 206-323-0388. $12. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat. Dec. 27. STEVE WIECKING
No choral work lends itself to the amateur treatment like Handel's Messiah. Beethoven's Ninth, though equally popular, is a bitch to sing, with the sopranos shrieking away on high A's for minutes on end (do not try this at home). And Carmina Burana is stirring to hear, but as a convivial do-it-yourself project, it'd feel a shade. . . Nuremberg-ynot the sort of piece that makes you want to gather in the church basement for eggnog afterward. You can work off holiday calories with two participatory Messiahs: one led by Steven Demorest at University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Ave. N.E., 206-525-8400. $7-$10. 7 p.m. Fri. Dec. 26; the other by Louis Magor at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth, 206-525-0036. $9.99-$12. 7 p.m. Sat. Dec. 27. GAVIN BORCHERT