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 May 29 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

Adventures of a Substitute Teacher Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

Are We Almost There? Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

BATS Improv Long-Form Festival Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason, Bldg. B (Marina & Buchanan), 474-8935.

BATS: Sunday Players Fort Mason, Bldg. B (Marina & Buchanan), for more information call 474-6776.

Beach Blanket Babylon Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

"The Best of PlayGround 9" Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 704-3177.

Beyond Therapy Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Big City Improv Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Cherry Docs 285-8282, www.atjt.com.

Comedy Improv at Your Disposal Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 510-595-5597.

Crimes of the Heart Actors Theatre San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 296-9179.

The Dharma of Dollars The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

GayProv Off-Market Studio, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.

A Handful of Dust Xenodrome, 1320 Potrero (at 25th St.), 285-9366.

Hannah and Martin San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio (at South Third St.), San Jose, 408-367-7255.

Hansel and Gretel: Choose Your Own Ending Young Performers Theater, Fort Mason, Bldg. C (Marina & Buchanan), 346-5550.

Here Lies Jenny Post Street Theatre, 450 Post (at Mason), 771-6900.

Hothouse Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D (Marina & Buchanan), 441-8822.

I Am My Own Wife Curran Theatre, 445 Geary (between Taylor and Mason), 551-2000.

Impact Briefs 7: The How-To Show La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley, 510-464-4468.

Improv Revolution Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.

Love, Chaos & Dinner Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery), 273-1620.

Macbeth Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor (at Ellis), 419-3584.

"Making Noise Quietly" Mills College Theater, Lisser Hall, 5000 MacArthur (between Seminary and High exits), Oakland.

Menopause the Musical Theatre 39 at Pier 39, 2 Beach (Beach & Embarcadero), 433-3939.

Monday Night Improv Jam Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), 364-1411.

Monday Night Marsh The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

A Moon for the Misbegotten Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.

Moonlight Last Planet Theatre, 351 Turk (at Hyde), 440-3505.

Othello Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at South Van Ness), 552-4100.

Ragtime the Musical Randall Museum Theater, 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), 554-9523.

San Francisco Improv Festival The Next Stage, 1620 Gough (at Bush) (Trinity Episcopal Church), 863-1076.

San Francisco Treasures Series The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Spit/Kiss Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission (at 11th St.), 554-0402.

StarCrossed Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Geary) (Suite 601), 820-1565.

"Throckmorton Stories" 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton (at Madrona), Mill Valley, 383-9600.

"Twilight Zone: The Plays" Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.

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