Heist a Crow

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Through June 28. Tickets are $15; visit www.helpwalrus.com.
Stagewerx, 533 Sutter (at Powell ), S.F.

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If the title causes you to tilt your head quizzically, just wait until you see the show. Sean Kelly's Heist a Crow is a self-consciously odd little number about a recently dead guy (Matt Gunnison) who discovers that God is an "unlikely and improbable universal architect" named Fivepockets and that the angel of death reads Details. He also finds that the afterlife is full of resentful celestial beings who yearn to eat meat (they're partial to internal organs, since the pancreas is the seat of the soul). Oh, and the only way for an ordinary dead person to travel from heaven to earth? Hitch a ride with a crow, naturally. Heist a Crow is moderately successful at conveying the sheer horror that the very notion of an eternal afterlife should generate in any reasonable person. And one sequence in particular—in which our hero is cast into the Void and subjected to profound darkness and isolation—is both technically impressive and eerily convincing. Yet at just over 60 minutes, the show generates far more promising ideas than it can possibly explore. It also spends too much of its brief running time indulging in a kind of mawkishness that meshes poorly with its otherwise absurdist tendencies. You can't fault Crow for a lack of ambition; you can, however, hope that its next iteration will be more fully developed and less inclined to trite emotionalism. Death is sad and ridiculous and final enough without imploring us to get choked up about it.

 
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