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STAGE REVIEW

Magical ‘Nights’ spins tales richly told

By Terry Byrne
Globe Correspondent / November 29, 2011
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The magical stories of Sheherezade’s 1,001 “Arabian Nights’’ come to life with the simple combination of a storyteller’s hypnotic voice, a richly colored backdrop and some extraordinarily dexterous performances in the Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater’s first co-production at their Central Square Theatre home. Adapter Dominic Cooke selects just five stories, ranging from the familiar (“Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves’’) to the more obscure (“How Abu Hassan Broke Wind’’) for a mix of tales that seem exotic at first but soon reveal familiar themes of jealousy, greed, bitterness, love, longing, and loss.

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ARABIAN NIGHTS

Play, adapted by Dominic Cooke

Directed by Daniel Gidron.

Sets and puppetry design, David Fichter. Assistant designer, puppet master, Will Cabell. Costumes, Leslie Held. Lights, Karen Perlow. Composer and sound design, Kareem Roustom. Choreography, Judith Chaffee.

Presented by the Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater at Central Square Theater, Cambridge, through Dec. 31. Tickets: $15-$45. 866-811-4111, www.centralsquaretheater.org.