Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theatre

A Man of No Importance. The man in question is a Dublin bus conductor, Alfie Byrne, who tries to mount an amateur production of Oscar Wilde's Salomé at his local church in 1964. He's unmarried and middle-aged, which makes him queer enough in Irish Catholic eyes; he also secretly loves a young bus driver named Robbie. What Alfie's priest worries about, though, is Salomé's erotic Dance of the Seven Veils: "You shoulda told me this Salomey was a dirty play," says Father Kenny. "It's not dirty, Father," says Alfie. "It's great airt." Terrence McNally has adapted the 1994 movie with Albert Finney into a musical, and the cloying subject matter may work better this way. Stephen Flaherty's music relies on a few classical string instruments and some elements of Irish folk -- a guitar, a flute, and a fiddle, played live -- and Lynn Ahrens' lyrics are not too cheesy. Overall the show is sweet and well made, with strong performances in the central roles (Arthur Scappaticci as Alfie, Levi Damione as Robbie), but it's also light and inconsequential. McNally himself will be in residence at the New Conservatory this season, so a West Coast premiere of his newest show serves as a gesture welcoming him to town. Through April 11 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Tickets are $18-28; call 861-8972 or visit Reviewed March 31.

Also Playing

Are We Almost There?: Morris Bobrow's rollicking, long-running musical comedy about the trials and tribulations of travel, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, $20-$22. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

BATS Improv: Gorilla Theatre: BATS players try to top each other's improv work in a contest in which the audience hands out rewards and penalties, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 10, $12. Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan, 474-8935.

BATS: Sunday Players: Each week Bay Area Theatresports players pit their improv work against all comers as the audience votes them off one by one until the winner stands alone on the stage, 8 p.m. Sundays, $8. Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan, 474-8935.

Beach Blanket Babylon: This North Beach perennial features crazy hats, media personality caricatures, a splash of romance, and little substance, 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays, $25-$65. Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

Dancing at Lughnasa: The final production before the closing of the Mills College Theatre program is this, the story of five sisters who make a meager yet joyful living in a small Irish village in 1936, 8 p.m. Thursday, April 8, through Saturday, April 10, $5-10 sliding scale. Mills College Theater, Lisser Hall, 5000 MacArthur (between Seminary and High exits), Oakland, 510-430-3308.

The Doll Hospital: USF Theater Program's contemporary adaptation of Euripides' The Trojan Women, 8 p.m., through Friday, April 9. Multiple locations, sliding scale, 422-5979.

Flaming Iguanas: Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Erika Lopez, the play follows bisexual heroine Tomato Rodriguez on a cross-country motorcycle quest for lust, love, and the meaning of life, 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays, through April 24, $15-25. Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at South Van Ness), 861-5079.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: 42nd Street Moon revives the classic Anita Loos tale about two single gal pals who set out on a French cruise in search of perfect husbands, but wind up getting more than they bargained for, through April 18, $17-$30, see for schedule of performances. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.

How to Write a Song: Ira Marlowe's one-man multimedia comedy traces the arc of his failures in the music industry, 8 p.m. Thursday, April 8, through Saturday, April 10, $12-$20. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.

Mamma Mia!: The hit musical is based on the music of '70s Swedish supergroup ABBA, through April 14, $40-$81, see for a schedule of performances. Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor (at Market), 512-7770.

Martha's Scandalous Speakeasy Show & Sexy Cirque Extravaganza: Barbary Coast Vaudeville's revolving cast of comics, burlesque dancers, and other performers are Aloysia, Olaf the Clown, Scrumbly, Kellita, Hot Pink Feathers, The Sirens, Bubblesmith, Eric & Sagiv, Heather Nichele, Dot Jones & Peanut, Aerial Silk, The Scadalettes, Elizabeth Clarke, The Primates, and Cindy Goldfield, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, through Sunday, April 11, $29-$79. Kimball's East, 5800 Shellmound (at Christy), Emeryville, 510-658-2555.

My Antonia: A stage adaptation of Willa Cather's novel about an immigrant girl who faces many challenges on the American Western frontier, 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, through April 25, $20-48. Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro (at Mercy), Mountain View, 650-903-6000.

My Old Lady: Israel Horovitz's comedy targets parent-child relationships by relating the story of an American writer who meets with disaster when he tries to claim his inheritance, a Parisian apartment, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7; 8 p.m. Thursday, April 8, and Saturday, April 10; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 11, $28-45. Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller (at Evergreen), Mill Valley, 388-5208.

Not a Genuine Black Man: KGO talk show star and comic Brian Copeland's solo show talks about growing up black in one of the most racist suburbs of America -- San Leandro; Previews, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, through April 16, $12-22. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

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