By Josh Edelson
By Chris Hall
By Jonathan Curiel
By Jonathan Curiel
By Sherilyn Connelly
By Mollie McWilliams
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Browner
Hot Greeks. To complement their wildly successful (and deservedly so) run of Pearls over Shanghai (running through August), Russell Blackwood and his merrily debaucherous Thrillpeddlers are simultaneously putting on the only other scripted Cockettes musical, Hot Greeks. It's a loose interpretation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata (the women of Greece try to end the Peloponnesian War by withholding sex from their men), in which the soldiers are college footballers and the women are cheerleaders. Most of the actors are in drag (if in clothes at all), plenty of double entendres are involved ("Everybody's got a buddy on the front"), and exposed cocks are — often literally — flying everywhere. The plot is paper-thin, but the company's enthusiasm, the lush costuming, and some of the songs ("The Hot Twat of Tangier") are quite entertaining. The second act, hosted by original Cockette composer and actor Scrumbly Koldewyn, plays as a depraved history and cabaret performance of random songs from other 1970s Cockettes productions, including the hilarious "Journey to the Center of Uranus!" Greeks feels more like a B-side to the truly thrilling Pearls, but together they revive a sexy history and tradition that feels truly San Francisco. It's freakishly fun. Through June 27 at the Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), S.F. $30-$69; 800-838-3006 or www.thrillpeddlers.com. (Nathaniel Eaton) Reviewed May 5.
Round and Round the Garden. The nicest thing you can say about American Conservatory Theater's production of Alan Ayckbourn's Round and Round the Garden is that the set is gorgeous, with green grass and ivy-covered walls, and the actors really try. They commit. The physical comedy is exceptional. But what can you do in a British sex farce without a climax? The plot, loosely speaking, is that there are three couples in a country estate for the weekend. Norman (Manoel Felciano) wants to fuck every woman there; they all secretly want to fuck him, even though they're married, or are his wife's sister, which is inconvenient, but what can you do? If this sounds banal, your hearing is excellent. The characters as written aren't people so much as parodies of British stereotypes, from a comedy of manners written in the 1970s and adapted for the BBC by a very earnest graduate student. There's nothing that comes close to a recognizably human motivation, and the characters behave as they do because that's how characters should, according to "Playwriting 305: Structure of Farce." Just don't blame the set designers or the actors, who are trapped in a bad marriage and giving Round and Round the Garden far more than it deserves. Through May 23 at A.C.T., 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. $17-$82; 749-2228 or www.act-sf.org. (Benjamin Wachs) Reviewed May 5.
The 2010 Rhino Benefit Extravaganza: The best in queer talent comes out to support the Rhino. Tue., May 25, 8 p.m. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469, www.eurekatheatre.org.
69 Stories: One Pervert's Tale: May 21-23. The Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Post), 989-0023, www.phoenixtheatresf.org.
An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus...: A comedy by Mickle Maher. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through May 22. The Garage, 975 Howard (at Sixth St.), 885-4006, www.975howard.com.
Best of PlayGround 14: A Festival of New Writers & New Plays: Short plays. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 30. The Thick House, 1695 18th St. (at Arkansas), 401-8081, www.thickhouse.org.
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.
Boys Will Be Boys: Presented by New Conservatory Theatre Center. Starting May 21, Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 26. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.
City Solo: Solo artists in the Bay Area. Sundays. Continues through May 23. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 336-0513, www.cafearts.com/offmarket.
Fishing: Presented by Open Tab Production. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through May 29. Shotwell Studios, 3252A 19th St. (at Folsom), 920-2223, www.ftloose.org/shotwell.html.
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