Encore

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? did for the American theater in 1962 what Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey did for its British equivalent just four years previously. Products of the postwar fracture of traditional family values and gender roles, both plays sent shock waves across their respective cultural landscapes and changed the face of theater forever. But while these days Delaney's play is considered a period piece and rarely performed, Actors Theatre's production (along with, of course, the recent highly lauded Broadway revival starring Bill Irwin and Kathleen Turner) proves Virginia Woolf to be as fresh today as it was when Albee wrote it. The caustically funny and darkly depraved drama takes place over the course of a booze-soaked night at the university-campus home of middle-aged history professor George (Christian Phillips) and his wife, Martha (Julia McNeal), as they play cat and mouse with each other and their newbie guests, the twentysomething biology professor Nick (Daniel Hart Donoghue) and his wife, Honey (Tara Donoghue). The claustrophobic atmosphere of Biz Duncan's living room set enhances the intensity of the couples' relentless "fun and games." Combining incisive, rhythmic direction by Keith Phillips and Kenneth Vandenberg with crisp performances by all four cast members (Tara Donoghue is especially pathetic and hilarious as the "thin-hipped" Honey), Actors Theatre's Virginia Woolf expertly mines the complex nature of marital relationships. Through Sept. 24 at the Actors Theatre, 533 Sutter (between Powell and Mason), S.F. Tickets are $10-30; call 296-9179 or visit www.actorstheatresf.org. (Chloe Veltman) Reviewed June 22.

Also Playing

Almost Heaven: John Denver's America Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic (at Locust), Walnut Creek, 925-943-7469.

Annie Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor (at Market), 512-7770.

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

Bad Gays! Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission (at 11th St.), 554-0402.

BATS: Sunday Players Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan, 474-6776.

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

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

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

"Blood Bucket Ballyhoo" The Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), 248-1900.

The Boys From Syracuse North Beach Branch Library, 2000 Mason (at Columbus), 355-5626.

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

Dead Certain The Next Stage, 1620 Gough (at Bush), Trinity Episcopal Church, 333-6389.

"Doctor Atomic: Science, Morals, and Music" Cowell Theater, Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason (Marina & Buchanan), 345-7575.

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

Gemini Actors Theatre San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 296-9179.

"Here/Now: A Festival of Optimistic Voices" Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida (at 17th St.), 626-4370.

Immigrant Stories Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck (at Berryman), Berkeley, 510-704-8210.

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

"Intrigue in the Mansion: Murder Mystery Dinner" The Archbishop's Mansion, 1000 Fulton (at Steiner), 563-7872.

Jesus Christ Superstar Woodminster Amphitheater, 3300 Joaquin Miller (at Highway 13), Oakland, 510-531-9597.

The Las Vega-Nauts New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (at Eighth St.), 626-5416.

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

Mapplethorpe: The Opening New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972.

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.

Much Ado About Nothing Presidio Parade Grounds, Lincoln & Montgomery, 865-4434.

Nicky Goes Goth La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley, 510-234-6046.

Our Town Berkeley Repertory's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-647-2949.

Owners The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby (at MLK Jr.), Berkeley, 510-841-6500.

The Price Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-843-4822.

Private Lives Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic (at Locust), Walnut Creek, 925-943-7469.

Romeo and Juliet Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, Dominican University, 50 Acacia (at Grand), San Rafael, 499-1108.

San Francisco Fringe Festival Multiple locations within San Francisco, 673-3847, www.sffringe.org.

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant (at Ellsworth), Berkeley, 510-843-4822.

Trailer Town The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

What Mama Said About "Down There" Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis (at Taylor), 921-8234.

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