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Our critics weigh in on local theater

Wednesday, May 19 2010

Hot Greeks. To complement their wildly successful (and deservedly so) run of Pearls over Shanghai (running through August), Russell Blackwood and his merrily debaucherous Thrillpeddlers are simultaneously putting on the only other scripted Cockettes musical, Hot Greeks. It's a loose interpretation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata (the women of Greece try to end the Peloponnesian War by withholding sex from their men), in which the soldiers are college footballers and the women are cheerleaders. Most of the actors are in drag (if in clothes at all), plenty of double entendres are involved ("Everybody's got a buddy on the front"), and exposed cocks are — often literally — flying everywhere. The plot is paper-thin, but the company's enthusiasm, the lush costuming, and some of the songs ("The Hot Twat of Tangier") are quite entertaining. The second act, hosted by original Cockette composer and actor Scrumbly Koldewyn, plays as a depraved history and cabaret performance of random songs from other 1970s Cockettes productions, including the hilarious "Journey to the Center of Uranus!" Greeks feels more like a B-side to the truly thrilling Pearls, but together they revive a sexy history and tradition that feels truly San Francisco. It's freakishly fun. Through June 27 at the Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), S.F. $30-$69; 800-838-3006 or (Nathaniel Eaton) Reviewed May 5.

Round and Round the Garden. The nicest thing you can say about American Conservatory Theater's production of Alan Ayckbourn's Round and Round the Garden is that the set is gorgeous, with green grass and ivy-covered walls, and the actors really try. They commit. The physical comedy is exceptional. But what can you do in a British sex farce without a climax? The plot, loosely speaking, is that there are three couples in a country estate for the weekend. Norman (Manoel Felciano) wants to fuck every woman there; they all secretly want to fuck him, even though they're married, or are his wife's sister, which is inconvenient, but what can you do? If this sounds banal, your hearing is excellent. The characters as written aren't people so much as parodies of British stereotypes, from a comedy of manners written in the 1970s and adapted for the BBC by a very earnest graduate student. There's nothing that comes close to a recognizably human motivation, and the characters behave as they do because that's how characters should, according to "Playwriting 305: Structure of Farce." Just don't blame the set designers or the actors, who are trapped in a bad marriage and giving Round and Round the Garden far more than it deserves. Through May 23 at A.C.T., 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. $17-$82; 749-2228 or (Benjamin Wachs) Reviewed May 5.

The 2010 Rhino Benefit Extravaganza: The best in queer talent comes out to support the Rhino. Tue., May 25, 8 p.m. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469,

69 Stories: One Pervert's Tale: May 21-23. The Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Post), 989-0023,

An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus...: A comedy by Mickle Maher. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through May 22. The Garage, 975 Howard (at Sixth St.), 885-4006,

Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry: A comedy by William Bivins. Wednesdays-Saturdays. Continues through June 12. SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596,

Baggage Allowance: May 20-23, $16-$20, Z Space, 450 Florida (at 17th St.), 626-0453,

Beautiful Child: The Music of Rufus Wainwright: Through May 29, 7:30 p.m., $15-$20, Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 820-3320,

Best of PlayGround 14: A Festival of New Writers & New Plays: Short plays. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 30. The Thick House, 1695 18th St. (at Arkansas), 401-8081,

Big City Improv: Actors take audience suggestions and create comedy from nothing. Fridays, 10 p.m., $15-$20, Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100,

BorderOUT Collaborative: Noche de Inspiración y Tradición: Fri., May 21, 8 p.m., $10-$15. Red Poppy Art House, 2698 Folsom (at 23rd St.), 826-2402,

Boys Will Be Boys: Presented by New Conservatory Theatre Center. Starting May 21, Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 26. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972,

The Breath of Life: Presented by Spare Stage. May 21-June 6. Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa (at Florida), 621-7978,

City Solo: Solo artists in the Bay Area. Sundays. Continues through May 23. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 336-0513,

Eat, Pray, Laugh!: Alicia Dattner's solo show. Wednesdays. Continues through May 26. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 336-0513,

Echo's Reach: By Tim Barsky and circus performers from City Circus/Acrosports. Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 30. Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St. (at York), 641-7657,

Fishing: Presented by Open Tab Production. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through May 29. Shotwell Studios, 3252A 19th St. (at Folsom), 920-2223,

Geezer: A comedy about growing old by Geoff Hoyle. Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 23. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750,

In the Heights: Musical by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 13. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary (at Taylor), 551-2000,

Marga Gomez Is Proud and Bothered: Comedy by Marga Gomez. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 26. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972,

Monday Night Marsh: On select Mondays a different lineup of musicians, actors, performance artists, and others takes the stage at this regular event that's hosted local celebs like Josh Kornbluth and Marga Gomez in the past; see for a lineup of future shows. Mondays, $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750,

Monkey King: A Circus Adventure: Presented by the Clown Conservatory. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 25. Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), 263-0830,

Pearls over Shanghai: Thrillpeddlers brings back the Cockettes. Through Aug. 1, $30. The Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), 377-4202,

Rhino: Adapted from Eugène Ionesco's Rhinoceros. Through May 29. Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma (at Sixth St.), 776-1747,

Rinaldo: Presented by Pocket Opera. Sat., May 22, 2 p.m. Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave. (at Clement), 863-3330,

San Francisco Stories: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through May 29. Stage Werx, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 730-3433,

Shopping! The Musical: Songs and sketches about shopping. Fridays, Saturdays, $23-$29, Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100,

ShortLived: Audience-judged playwriting competition. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through June 26. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 336-0513,

Slasher: A comedy by Allison Moore. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through June 5. SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596,

Solo Sundays: Featuring Martha Rynberg and Ericka Lutz. Sun., May 23. Stage Werx, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 730-3433,

Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding: Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, 7 p.m., $88.50-$115.50, Swiss Louis Restaurant at Pier 39, 2 Beach (at Embarcadero), 421-2913,

Twilight Zone Live: Season VII: Starting May 21, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 12, $20. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987,

Very Warm for May: Presented by 42nd Street Moon. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 24. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469,

What Mama Said About Down There: Sia Amma's comedy. Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through June 3. Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis (at Taylor), 928-4060.


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