The black-and-white morality and exaggerated pathos of melodrama can seem spoofish even when played straight. Bro Herrod and Barry Manilow’s eight-year off-Broadway run with their 1964 musical adaptation of W.H.S. Smith’s 1844 drama proves the form’s comic potential. However, Quest Theatre Ensemble’s production, directed by Andrew Park, sags under the weight of its silliness, unable to support all the self-indulgent ad-libs and excessive musical froth. (This was Manilow way before his prime–we’re talking lyrics like “Good is good and right is right / But evil’s not so good, right?”). While the show is visually pleasing and boasts some credible performances–and the added attraction of throwing popcorn at the villain–it screams to be reined in. –Kim Wilson Buck a Through 3/25: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Blue Theatre, Monsignor Klasen Athletic Center, 1609 W. Gregory, 312-458-0895. F