Encore

The Rogue El Gato. Last year playwright Shawn Ferreyra and his company El Gato Del Diablo produced a marvelous play called The Legendary and Fabulous Passion Play. It was a night filled with wine, sex, and half-naked nymphs. It had an immensely creative set and a loud soundtrack pounding out Nine Inch Nails. This is not that play. The Rogue El Gato is a rustic children's play about a demon cat trying to protect its natural habitat from a wasteful and polluting village of humans. On many levels it works. The costumes are soft and colorful. The actors are obviously skilled and expressive. There are even brief moments of juggling and acrobatics. Ferreyra is an excellent writer of dialogue, but Rogue could use some more creative staging to avoid its long sections of characters standing around talking. Though this play seems targeted to children age 5 and older, it lacks a certain level of production that young audiences have come to expect. Ferreyra uses no special lighting, no music, and very little creative movement to tell this modernist tale of environmental neglect. Without those things, the forbidding forest and devil cat don't seem all that menacing and Rogue, while still fun at moments, feels fairly one-dimensional. Through Sept. 29 (Saturdays only) at the Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson St. (between Battery and Front), S.F. Tickets are $5-10; call 800-838-3006 or visit www.elgatotheatre.org. (N.E.) Reviewed Sept. 5.

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