Our critics weigh in on local theatre

Quartet No. 1 for Three Characters and Cello: Dan Harder's experimental play uses text and music to tell the story of an interracial couple's mysterious vanishing. Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23, $17-20. Actors Theatre San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 296-9179.

The Secret in the Wings: Mary Zimmerman's latest work is billed as a kind of surreal fairy tale for adults, inspired partly by "Beauty and the Beast." Tue.-Sun. Continues through Oct. 17, $39-55. Berkeley Repertory's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-647-2949.

Sex & Mayhem: Donald Currie's whirlwind, autobiographical ride through 50 years of queer culture in San Francisco. Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 10, $15-25. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972,

Single Spies: The purportedly true story of the Cambridge Spy Ring, the first modern scandal to rock the British royal family. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. & 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 17, $23-35. Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at South Van Ness), 861-5079,

The Va Va Voom Room: A lavish variety show featuring pulchritudinous dames, mischievous magicians, sultry chanteuses, heartthrob tenors, and a live three-piece band, with rotating headliners from around the country. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. & 11 p.m., $25-$29.75, Plush Room, York Hotel, 940 Sutter (at Hyde), 885-2800.

The Violet Hour: A Jazz-Age comedy about a publisher whose future depends on his next book who receives mysterious messages from the future. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23, $30-50. SF Playhouse, 536 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596,

Viva Variety: The popular bimonthly shows always feature queer and queer-friendly musicians, actors, poets, comics, and unclassifiable performers, with proceeds going to various local charities. Second Tuesday of every other month, 8 p.m., $15, for more information call 863-0741. Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton (at Webster), 922-2049.

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