There's a young woman in love with a girl dressed as a boy in love with a boy who's being played by a girl. But when the young woman finds out she is in love with a girl, she'll be forced to marry a guy who is, yes, being played by a girl. OK, we know that Shakespeare definitely intended some gender-bending fun and foolishness in his comedy As You Like It, but this production goes further than his wildest tranny dreams. In this latest treat brought to us by the Bay Area's resident all-chick Shakespeare troupe, Woman's Will, all of the characters in the silly 16th-century soiree are played by females -- but some of the women who are portraying women start dressing up as men.
It all begins when poor Orlando must escape to the forest for fear of being killed by his cruel older brother. At the same time, his big crush, the lovely Rosalind, gets banished from court by her mean uncle, who's got some beef with her duke dad. But Rosalind and her cousin Celia want to be inconspicuous as they head to the woods, so they get dolled up as dudes. When Orlando and the male Rosalind bump heads, all insanity breaks loose.
As performed in local parks this summer, As You Like It is set in the vibrant hippie scene of 1960s London. "The play really lends itself to the '60s," says Artistic Director Erin Merritt, "with everybody going off to the forest and discovering themselves." Enjoy the romantic madness this weekend at 1 p.m. in Dolores Park, Dolores between 18th and 20th streets, S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 420-0813 or visit www.womanswill.org.
-- Karen Macklin
When I was a kid, the closest I could get to smut were the spicy romance novels my mom kept hidden in her nightstand. They contained no naked people or dirty words, but boy, were they loaded with heaving bosom, throbbing manhood, and unbridled passion. Apparently someone at the Thunderbird Theatre Company had a bodice-ripper-reading mom, too, because the group's new comedy has all the elements: a voluptuous heroine cut off from her privileged background, swarthy pirates, calculating villains, and enough overwrought tongue-in-cheek ardor to fill a treasure chest. Lusty Booty opens tonight at 8 (and runs through Aug. 28) at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 289-6766 or visit www.thunderbirdtheatre.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
The scene in Ken Russell's Tommy in which Ann-Margret, sporting a white fur coat, ecstatically rolls around in a downpour of bubbly and baked beans spewing from a television set is arguably one of cinema's finest moments. It's an absurdly beautiful number in a remarkable rock opera -- based on the Who's 1969 album -- about an abused "deaf, dumb, and blind boy" who becomes a pinball world champion and religious icon. Now the Pacific Players bring the show here, minus the messy deluge of legumes. Tommy starts at 8 p.m. at 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 970-9777 or visit www.12galaxies.com.
-- Brock Keeling
Rumble in the Jungle
What do a ukulele band, pith helmets, and a bunch of hoochie-coochie girls have in common? Why, they're all part of "Atomic Jungle." "It's 1954 at the infamous Bikini Atoll," the promotional postcards say, and the performance had better be pretty damn good for anyone to want to go there. Fortunately, it does look good, what with music from Prince Kong & the Royal Gravediggers and DJs Miz Margo and Hick Smokey, and a floor show that promises "Witchdoctors, Headhunters, Leopard Girls and Salty Seamen!" Hoist a tiki drink at 10 p.m. at the DNA Lounge, 375 11th St. (at Harrison), S.F. Admission is $15; call 626-1409 or visit www.dnalounge.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser