Our critics weigh in on local theatre

Red: TheatreWorks' production of Chay Yew's drama is set in an abandoned Beijing Opera house and follows a famous Chinese-American novelist as she sets about conceptualizing her next book, 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, through Aug. 8; $20-$50. Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto, 650-903-6000.

Shakespeare's R & J: The Red Jacket company's first production is a realistic, modern ensemble production of Shakespeare's tragic romance, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through July 25; $10. Bannam Place Theater, 50A Bannam Pl. (at Grant), 831-8067.

The Storyteller's Art: The Young Performers Theatre brings legends from around the globe to life, 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Aug. 1, $7-$12, 346-5550 (information). Young Performers Theater, Bldg. C, Fort Mason (Marina & Buchanan), 346-5550.

A Summer Spectacle: A fantasy-filled romp through Italy's age of kings, 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through July 25; free, 485-9555 (information). College of Marin/Fine Arts Theatre, 858 College, Kentfield, 485-9555.

Two Years Before the Mast: Jeffrey Paul Whitman remembers Richard Henry Dana's 19th-century sail from Boston to California in this one-man play, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17; $25. Hyde Street Pier, Hyde (at Jefferson), 556-3002.

The Underpants: Steve Martin's latest production is a comedy about a high-society chick who loses her bloomers during a public parade and becomes the center of unsavory attention, noon and 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, 8 p.m. Thursday, July 15, and Friday, July 16, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17; $18-$52. San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio (at South Third St.), San Jose, 408-367-7255.

Water Tales: Inge Wessels and her crew of wisecracking puppets offer insights into San Francisco's maritime history, 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Aug. 15, free. Hyde Street Pier, Hyde (at Jefferson), 556-3002.

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