'The Phantom Lady'
THEATER The gutsy Bowman Ensemble has mounted a highly theatrical, witty rendition of Calderon de la Barca's 17th century swashbuckling romantic comedy, "The Phantom Lady." The title refers to a young widow, who, despite being kept under lock and key by her over-protective brothers, manages to fall in love with one of their guests. The Bowman Ensemble performs outdoors at McDonogh School in Owings Mills. Tonight's performance is a fund-raising gala. Tickets are $35. Regular performances continue tomorrow at the usual ticket price of $10. Curtain time both nights is 8. For more information, call (410) 243-3676.
TV worth watching
Normally recommending the conclusion of a multipart series is not the thing to do. But the "Masterpiece Theatre" series "Portrait of a Marriage," at 10 Sunday night on MPT (channels 22 and 67), is such wonderful stuff, you should watch even if you've missed parts 1 and 2. Host Alistair Cooke will bring you up to speed on this exquisite study of a woman involved in both a comfortable marriage and a torrid lesbian relationship.
Fun while it lasted
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is much better when it's about Buffy than when it's about vampire slaying. Kristy Swanson, in a star-making turn, has such spunk and vim and zip and pop as Valley Girl Buffy that for a full hour the movie is completely joyful. She, like, wants to go to Europe, marry Christian Laettner, be rich and die, you know. But she keeps having to kill these vampires. It's so gross. Luke Perry is sort of boring if you ask me, and the movie runs out of charm before it runs out of film, but for more than a while it's great fun. PG-13. **.
"Prince of Tides" is handsome and quite banal but certainly watchable. Derived by director Barbra Streisand from the stew pot of a novel by Pat Conroy, it emphasizes the plot strand that featured a heroic New York psychiatrist as she tried to unwind the tangled family history of a South Carolina clan of self-haters, abusers and dysfunctionals. Director Streisand gave the plum role of the shrink to actress Streisand, though it was a close contest with several other nominees. Nick Nolte gets to play the clotted Southerner who finally comes clean on Dr. Streisand's shoulder and sets his life in order. The movie is lush and compelling, but you'll hate yourself for loving it. R. ** 1/2 .