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Our critics weigh in on local theater

Under the Gypsy Moon. Storylines don't really matter in a Teatro ZinZanni production; they just provide a loose framework for the circuslike acts everyone comes to see while they enjoy a fancy five-course meal. In the group's latest three-hour show, the Spiegeltent is invaded by thieving gypsies (so much for political correctness), who, in addition to being skilled swindlers, are also (surprise) skilled blues singers, jugglers, and acrobats. As one would expect, the trapeze work is impressive, especially the comic rope-play by Sabine Maier and Joachim Mohr, who manage to fall over themselves without falling down. The evening's most satisfying moments, however, happen on the ground. A juggling number set to Prince's "Kiss" is simple but delightful, and Mat Plendl dazzled the audience with his mastery of the hula hoop. Unfortunately, too many of the cabaret's comedy bits are lame. Punny punchlines delivered by a Henny Youngman-like character played by Geoff Hoyle (the original Zazu in the Broadway production of The Lion King) are especially groan-inducing. Those cheesy moments leave a bad taste in your mouth, as does some of the food, which is passable but not stellar. While Under the Gypsy Moon does deliver some magical moments, unless you've got a lot of disposable cash, it's an evening perhaps best left to the tourists to enjoy. Through Jan. 17 at the Spiegeltent, Pier 29 (at Battery), S.F. $117-$195; 438-2668 or www.zinzanni.org. (Will Harper) Reviewed Sept. 30.

Beach Blanket Babylon: A North Beach perennial featuring crazy hats, media personality caricatures, a splash of romance, and little substance. Now with Rod Blagojevich! Wednesdays, Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 6:30 & 9:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 5 p.m.; Fridays, 6:30 p.m., $25-$80, www.beachblanketbabylon.com. Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

Beautiful Thing: Two working-class London teenage boys who fall in love. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 3. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

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Big City Improv: Actors take audience suggestions and create comedy from nothing. Fridays, 10 p.m., $15-$20, www.bigcityimprov.com. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100, www.sheltontheater.com.

Black Nativity: A Gospel Celebration of Christmas: Lorraine Hansberry Theatre's Christmas show. Through Dec. 27, www.lhtsf.org. Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter (at Mason), 771-6900, www.marinesmemorialtheatre.com.

A Christmas Carol: The gang's all here in Dickens' classic. Through Dec. 27. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228, www.act-sfbay.org.

Cinderella: African-American Shakespeare sets the play in Louisiana. Sun., Dec. 27. African American Art and Cultural Complex Center, 762 Fulton (at Webster), 922-2049, www.aaacc.org.

Dames at Sea: A sly look at Hollywood musicals of the 1930s. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 17. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues: Holiday monologues by Jeff Goode. Mon., Dec. 28; Tue., Dec. 29. The Garage, 975 Howard (at Sixth St.), 885-4006, www.975howard.com.

"Free IN(G) the Parks": Exhibition of archival materials related to the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Through Feb. 1. Main Library, 100 Larkin (at Grove), 557-4400, www.sfpl.org.

Fun-derful Holidaze: Unique Derique clowns around. Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Jan. 3. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes: Sat., Dec. 26, 5, 7 & 9 p.m., $20-$25, www.trannyshack.com. Mama Calizo's Voice Factory, 1519 Mission (at Van Ness), 690-9410, www.voicefactorysf.org.

Here Comes Boswick the Clown: Dec. 26-Jan. 1, 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m., $7-$9. Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma (at Sixth St.), 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org.

A Merry FORKING! Christmas: A choose-your-own-adventure play. Through Jan. 2. 8 p.m., $20, 917-363-9646, www.pianofight.com. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), www.cafearts.com/offmarkettheaters.

Monday Night Marsh: On select Mondays a different lineup of musicians, actors, performance artists, and others takes the stage at this regular event that's hosted local celebs like Josh Kornbluth and Marga Gomez in the past; see www.themarsh.org for a lineup of future shows. Mondays, $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Mr. YooWho's Holiday: European clown Moshe Cohen's one-man show. Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 3. Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa (at Florida), 621-7978, www.theatreofyugen.org.

OVO: Cirque du Soleil returns to the city with a show about insects. Through Jan. 24, $42-$250. Grand Chapiteau, Third St. (at Terry Francois), www.cirquedusoleil.com.

Pearls over Shanghai: Thrillpeddlers brings back the Cockettes. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Jan. 23, $30. The Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), 377-4202, www.thrillpeddlers.com.

Point Break Live!: The boys are back in town again. Fridays, Saturdays, 9 p.m. Continues through May 1, www.pointbreaklivesf.com. Metreon, 101 Fourth St. (at Mission), 369-6030, www.westfield.com/metreon.

Santaland Diaries: David Sedaris' classic hits S.F. for the eighth year in a row. Mondays-Sundays, 8 & 10 p.m. Continues through Dec. 30. $25, www.combinedartform.com. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), www.cafearts.com/offmarkettheaters.

She Stoops to Comedy: Gender-bending romp by David Greenspan. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through Jan. 9. SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org.

Shopping! The Musical: Songs and sketches about shopping. Fridays, Saturdays, $23-$29, www.shoppingthemusical.com. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100, www.sheltontheater.com.

Showstoppers 25: Sat., Dec. 26, 8 p.m., $25, all ages. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), 392-4400, www.sfwmpac.org.

Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding: Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, 7 p.m., $88.50-$115.50, www.tonyandtinasanfrancisco.com. Swiss Louis Restaurant at Pier 39, 2 Beach (at Embarcadero), 421-2913, www.swisslouis.com.

Wicked: Meet the witches of Oz. Through March 21. Orpheum Theater, 1192 Market (at Eighth St.), 551-2000.

The Wizard of Oz: Stephanie Temple takes on Oz. Through Jan. 3. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

 
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