The Golden Hammer

A public defender explores the slippery nature of the justice system


Through July 31

Tickets are $15-22

(800) 838-3006

The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F.

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By day Mark McGoldrick is a public defender. By night he's a raconteur. In The Golden Hammer, the storyteller/lawyer uses anecdotes from his life to explore the slippery nature of the U.S. justice system. McGoldrick's flowing narrative catapults the audience backward and forward through time. The evocative reconstruction of his days as a teenager in a small Southwestern town, working as a sketchy car mechanic's assistant, brings new meaning to the term "body shop." Juxtaposed with the ethical dilemmas of defending a man against accusations of child rape in his current professional role, McGoldrick's past casts a harsh, unsettling light on his present. Despite his sitting in one position throughout -- McGoldrick is wheelchair-bound owing to a spinal injury in his youth -- the performer's conversational delivery style generally maintains our interest. Still, the show feels a bit lifeless and meandering; McGoldrick swings his hammer around, but doesn't deliver much of a blow.

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