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Our critics weigh in on local theater

Den of Thieves. The idea of a bunch of misfits trying to pull off the perfect crime has been done to death, then buried, then cremated, then reanimated as a zombie, shot by an angry mob, and buried a second time. But Den of Thieves, making its Bay Area premiere at SF Playhouse, has a lot going for it despite relying on this trope. Maggie is in a 12-step program for kleptomaniacs; Paul is her sponsor — in fact, he's in so many 12-step programs that he's probably your sponsor, too. These two characters, expertly played by Kathryn Tkel and Casey Jackson, are the appealing and resonant heart of a story that is fast, energetic, and hilarious. The script by Stephen Adly Guirgis (who also wrote Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train) charms from the very first moments, and feels far shorter than its two-hour run time. Not all is perfect: Wannabe Hispanic gangster Flaco (Chad Deverman) is almost irredeemably over the top, and "dancer" Boochie (Corinne Proctor) — exactly the character you'd imagine from her name — forgoes a top entirely in her line of work. And what's with the accents? We get it, people: You're in New York. Still, with the second act's strong opening, and two mobsters played with perfect comic timing, Den of Thieves keeps things animated and makes for a great night out. Through April 17 at SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. $40; 677-9596 or (Benjamin Wachs) Reviewed March 31.

An Accident: Lydia Stryk's play about recovery. April 15-May 9. Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D (Marina & Buchanan), 441-8822,

Acts of Life, Love, & Lunacy: A comedy by Rey Carolino. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through April 24. The Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Post), 989-0023,

... and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi: Presented by Cutting Ball Theater. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 25, 800-838-3006, Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor (at Ellis),

Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?: Josh Kornbluth's comedy. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 16. The Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida (at Mariposa), 292-1233,

Antigone: Sophocles' play, featuring Pi: The Physical Comedy Troupe. Through April 17. Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma (at Sixth St.), 776-1747,

April Fools Festival: Clown-based performance. Through May 2. Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), 263-0830,

Ashes to Ashes: Presented by Second Wind Productions. Starting April 16, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 8. The Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Post), 989-0023,

Baby: A Musical: Presented by Ray of Light Theatre. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 19. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 336-0513,

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

City Solo: Solo artists in the Bay Area. Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 18, $15-$20, 917-363-9646. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.),

The Crystal Ball: The A.C.T. Season Gala, with Anika Noni Rose. Sun., April 18, $500-$25,000. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-2787,

DIVAfest: Featuring women writers, directors, and performers. Through May 1. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847,

Frau Bachfeifengesicht's Spectacle of Perfection: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through April 25, Stage Werx, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 730-3433,

Hearts on Fire: Thelma Houston, El Vez, and Christine Deaver perform in Teatro ZinZanni's show. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through May 16, $117-$145. Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery), 273-1620.

Macho Bravado: Alex Park's play about a soldier. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 25. The Thick House, 1695 18th St. (at Arkansas), 401-8081,

The Mama Rhino New Works Festival: April 14-May 2. Mama Calizo's Voice Factory, 1519 Mission (at Van Ness), 690-9410,

Monday Night ForePlays: PianoFight's female-driven variety show. Mondays, 8 p.m. Continues through April 26. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 336-0513,

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 for a lineup of future shows. Mondays, $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750,

Othello: Presented by the African-American Shakespeare Company. Through April 18, 8 p.m., $20-$30. Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton (at Webster), 762-2071,

Pearls over Shanghai: Thrillpeddlers brings back the Cockettes. Through Aug. 1, $30. The Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), 377-4202,

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

Real Americans: Dan Hoyle's new show about small-town America. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 18. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750,

Riot: A collaboration between ACT's MFA and Young Conservatory programs. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through April 17. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228,

Scalpel!: D'Arcy Drollinger's musical. Through April 17, $20-$35. Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St. (at York), 641-7657,

Shadow Circus Vaudeville Theater: Folklore, mythology, monsters, and pop-culture parodies. Fri., April 16; Sat., April 17. Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), 263-0830,

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