By Joseph Geha
By Jonathan Kiefer
By Katie Tandy
By Mollie McWilliams
By Jennifer Baires
By Jonathan Curiel
By Sherilyn Connelly
7:00 p.m. First Unitarian Church basement is decorated with lurid embroidered banners trumpeting "Praise" and "Sing Be Glad." Signs on doors read "bell choir." Sweetly disheveled Britton idles on dressed in black with "Got Jesus?" emblazoned on T-shirt. Spend entire show — an endearing though unfocused yarn about H.R.'s complex personal relationship with J.C. — wondering how he managed to get permission to perform this show in God's house. Am pleased, regardless.
8 p.m. Hotfoot it to Garage at 975 Howard for Banana Bag & Bodice's The Sewers. Inhale yogurt from sketchy corner store.
9:50 p.m. Show overruns by 20 minutes, fatal news for Fringers with tight schedules. Don't care: It was stunning. BB&B manages to transform black-box space into steam-punk palace with fizzing electric lights; tattered 19th-century-inspired costumes embellished with futuristic goggles, tail-like cables, and winking LEDs; and rotting newspaper walls peppered with secret cubbyholes, pulleys, and wheels. Barely human characters (a husband and wife, her sister, and a shady individual in a filthy butcher's apron whose identity remains obscure) scratch at the landscape's tattered fragments and question everything from ability to procreate to rudiments of good stage acting. At times dripping with black humor and physical energy, at others moodily lyrical, The Sewers combines hints of Chekhov and Blade Runner into intoxicating mix.
10:10 p.m. Arrive breathless at Phoenix Theatre. Curse broken elevator and run up six flights of stairs to boom of catatonic bass line from Ruby Skye next door. Thankfully, The Hasheesh Eaters, SF Buffoons' rambunctious, drug-and-booze-addled glimpse into the sordid underbelly of Gold Rush San Francisco (and my seventh and final show) hasn't yet started.
10:45 p.m. After ten hours of sitting, can barely feel butt. Am I really watching a group of sweaty men in old-fashioned underwear playing leapfrog to lurching elbowings of pipe-smoking fiddler or is show's hallucinogenic subject matter, coupled with my hunger and fatigue, playing tricks on my brain? "'Tis a mad city full of perfectly mad people," says character in play. Feel like poster child for above statement.
11:10 p.m. Deliverance. Stagger down Mason and collapse before plate of French fries at Pinecrest Diner. James asks for lowdown about seven shows. All a blur. Can't remember titles, so list names of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs instead. Head home to bed.
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