The fall theater tidal wave is upon us. Here are Reader reviews to help keep you from drowning.

The new House Theatre of Chicago fantasy, The Iron Stag King: Part One, employs stunning aesthetics and technical savvy. But Keith Griffith reports that the show is hard to follow and lacks relatable characters. A commentary on power and government may be woven loosely into the plot, but who can tell for sure?

A hit for Piccolo Theatre in 2010, Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry! is back. Reader contributor Laura Molzahn found the original production lively and amusing. Molzahn also recommends Annee Pocalypse—a raunchy, skillful adult spin on the Broadway hit Annie.

Another recommended comedy is Commedia King John. Marissa Oberlander writes that this commedia dell’arte version of Shakespeare’s history play achieves “goofball perfection,” with good masks, appropriately over-the-top postures, and clever writing. Spirits to Enforce also ventures into the world of Shakespeare. Offered here in an Abraham Werewolf production chock-full of comic performances, Mickle Maher’s play skillfully balances a thorough breakdown of the Bard’s The Tempest with a whirlwind romance.