Encore

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Rush Limbaugh in Night School. Charlie Varon has revived and revamped his hilarious 1994 solo tour de force, a satire that may owe more than a little to Tom Stoppard's Travesties, about Rush Limbaugh and a cast of mostly still-relevant national figures from the left and right. When a conservative Latino radio host threatens Limbaugh's dominance in a Florida market, the potbellied pundit puts on a beard and enrolls in Spanish night classes (at the New School), where he falls in love with a fugitive ex-member of the Weather Underground. For obscure reasons Limbaugh also tries to play Othello in blackface, in a star-studded production featuring Garrison Keillor, directed by Spalding Gray. Things go predictably to hell. Varon's in full command of his characters; the voices are sharp, if not perfect; and his timing is hard to beat. But he and Limbaugh are both visibly older. Varon's point in 1994 was that Limbaugh had upended the whole idea of satire -- he'd turned a traditional weapon of the underprivileged into a tool of power, and the last 10 years have only shown how potent that strategy can be. Limbaugh was pretty much on his own in 1994; lately his talk-radio spawn have probably helped a) elect a new governor in California, and b) re-elect a president. Depressing. Through Feb. 20 at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Tickets are $15-22; call 826-5750 or visit www.themarsh.org. (Michael Scott Moore) Reviewed Dec. 15, 2004.

Also Playing

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant
Last Planet Theatre, 351 Turk (at Hyde), 440-3505, www.lastplanettheatre.com.

Crumbs From the Table of Joy
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter (at Mason), 474-8800.

Dublin Carol
Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org.

Hilda
Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 777-2800.

Monster
SF Playhouse, 536 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org.

Potted Plant: A Housewife's Guide
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Rescue and Recovery
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

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