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Our critics weigh in on local theater

super: anti: reluctant. Local performance company Mugwumpin's press release proudly declares that it is interested in questioning the primacy of text and narrative in theater. With super: anti: reluctant it does that and more by chucking out any semblance of cohesive story line. The theme of this "ensemble-created assemblage" is "heroic archetypes and their sway over culture." I quote liberally from the press release because in creating this show involving (again to quote) "original and found music, text, gesture, and sheer freakishness" the results are befuddling and open to myriad interpretations. Five actors in black-and-gray business suits move frenetically and with the confusing tendency to speak over each other's dialogue. They mime putting on superhero outfits and play out a succession of unrelated scenes: homesteaders wagoning West to look for a plot of land, a woman writing a Philip Marlowe novel, and frustrated customers in line at a Starbucks. It's like an abstract expressionist painting, with a lo-fi set made of butcher paper and packing tape and sound cues coming from a '70s cassette deck. The meaning and emotional impact are left to the individual viewer. The opinion of one audience member I overheard after the show was "brilliant," while we left feeling bewildered. Through Dec. 15 at Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy (between Taylor and Mason), S.F. Tickets are $10-20; call 673-3847 or visit www.sffringe.org. (Nathaniel Eaton) Reviewed Dec. 6.

All Wear Bowlers Berkeley Repertory's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-647-2949.
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), 433-1226.
Big City Improv Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
Black Nativity Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter (at Mason), 474-8800.
Christmas Ballet Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third St.), 978-2787.
A Christmas Carol American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.
Cinderella
Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 820-3320.
Convenience
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972.
Death of a Salesman
Actors Theatre San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 296-9179.
The Forest War
The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby (at MLK Jr.), Berkeley, 510-841-6500.
GayProv
Off-Market Studio, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
Improv Revolution
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
It Could Have Been A Wonderful Life
Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Geary), Suite 601, 989-0023.
It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Actors Theatre San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 296-9179.
Jersey Boys
Curran Theatre, 445 Geary (between Taylor and Mason), 551-2000.
Jesus Christ Superstar
Orpheum Theater, 1192 Market (at Eighth St.), 512-7770.
Love, Chaos & Dinner
Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery), 273-1620.
Luminescence Dating
Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D, Marina & Buchanan, 441-8822.
Magic Holiday
The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.
Monday Night Improv Jam
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 368-9909.
Monday Night Make Em Ups San Francisco Comedy College, 414 Mason, #705 (at Geary), 921-2051.
Monday Night Marsh
The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.
Murder Mystery Dinner
The Archbishop's Mansion, 1000 Fulton (at Steiner), 563-7872.
The Nutcracker
War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness (at Grove), 864-3330.
Queenie and the Chorus Girl
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
Queer Carol
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972.
Rat Pack Is Back
Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter (at Mason), 771-6900.
The Santaland Diaries
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
Strip World
Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.
Traces
Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon (at Bay), 567-6642.
Trimming the Holidays: The Second Annual Shorts Project
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
Twelve Days of Cochina
Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at South Van Ness), 861-5079.
A Very Brechty X-Mas
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.

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