More Theater Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater.

Little Shop of Horrors. For this production of the campy classic, the inventive Boxcar Theater converts its entire space, including lobby and outdoor facade, into a skid row flower shop. The opening number, complete with a live accordion brass band, spills out into the SOMA alleyway, and actors costumed as homeless people mingle with real homeless folk wandering through, submerging the audience in this grimy world. Once inside, the B-movie plotline centers on an ever-growing plant hungry for human blood. This involves song, security video footage, blood-splattered plastic draping, and a chorus of grungy street urchins. The adorable chemistry between horticulturist nerd Seymour (John R. Lewis) and his tough girl-with-a-heart-of-gold paramour, Audrey (the excellent Bryn Laux), keeps things light and sweet, while the storm around them plays out like a madcap grindhouse flick. Kevin Clarke wickedly hams it up as the motorcyle-driving, giggle-gas-addicted dentist Orin Scrivello (made famous by Steve Martin in the movie), and the monstrous plant puppet design by Greg Frisbee and Thomas John is impressive. Even with some pacing problems and weaker voices, this brilliantly conceived and designed production is devilish fun. Through June 26 at Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma (at Sixth St.), S.F. $20-50; 776-1747 www.boxcartheatre.org. (Nathaniel Eaton) Reviewed June 8.

Vice Palace. Combine Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" with Fellini's La Dolce Vita, persuade most of your actors to show off their peens, then stage the whole thing as a '30s musical revue. You might end up with something like Vice Palace, but you'll be lucky if your version is anywhere near as much fun to watch. Thrillpeddlers' latest revival of a musical by the Cockettes — the ragtag band of gender-fucking misfits who enjoyed a brief heyday in San Francisco from 1969 to 1972 — isn't quite as solid as Pearls Over Shanghai, the company's long-running foray into psychedelic burlesque. But it's still a good-natured evening of minimally polished, unapologetically trashy entertainment. (If you're uncomfortable with the prospect of seeing a naked dude pull decorative ribbon out of his ass, then you might want to choose another show.) Vice Palace was the last musical performed by the Cockettes before the troupe disbanded, and some of the numbers demonstrate a cleverness, even a compositional maturity, that wouldn't have been out of place when Cole Porter and Jerome Kern ruled Broadway. Of course, Cole Porter never wrote a song called "A Crab on Uranus." Oh, well — his loss, I guess. Through July 31 at the Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), S.F. $30-$35; www.thrillpeddlers.com. (Chris Jensen) Reviewed May 11.

2011 Home Season: This year features three new works by Kim Epifano,Stephen Kent, and Su Wai. Starting June 17. Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 19. $15-$20. ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), 863-6606.

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4GIVENESS: In a Family Way: Four new short plays by Susan Jackson. Thu., June 16, 8 p.m.; Fri., June 17, 8 p.m.; Thu., June 23, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 25, 8 p.m. $15-$20. Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa (at Harrison), 558-1749.

As You Like It: Presented by the Sitdown Readers' Theatre. Sat., June 18, 2 p.m. free. North Beach Branch Library, 2000 Mason (at Columbus), 355-5626.

Assassins: Stephen Sondheim's musical. Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through June 25. $20-$36. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.

Beach Blanket Babylon: Steve Silver's musical revue spoofs pop culture with extravagant costumes. Wednesdays-Sundays. $25-$130. Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

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.

The Business: A Comedy Show: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $5. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.

Caliente: Teatro ZinZanni production starring El Vez. A sister and brother lead a rebellion in an attempt to live out their dreams in show business. Through June 19. $91-$186. Teatro ZinZanni, Piers 27 and 29 (Embarcadero and Battery), 438-2668.

The Edenites: No Nude Men Productions stages a play about San Francisco by Stuart Bousel. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through June 25. $12-$25. Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

Fauxgirls!: Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m. free. www.fauxgirls.com. Kimo's, 1351 Polk (at Pine), 885-4535.

Fighting Mac!: A play by John Fisher about a gay man who joins the military and sees combat in Afghanistan. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through June 19. $15-$30. www.therhino.org. The Thick House, 1695 18th St. (at Arkansas), 401-8081.

Free Fridays! Improv Show: Late-night improv show. Fridays, 10:30 p.m. Continues through June 24. free. Alcove Theater, 414 Mason (at Derby).

Geezer: Geoff Hoyle's solo performance about what it's like to grow old. Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through July 10. $20-$50. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Juno en Victoria: A tragicomedy involving wealthy Victorian women and Greek gods and goddesses. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through July 2. $24. Stage Werx, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 730-3433.

Monday Night Marsh: Musicians, actors, performance artists, and others take the stage at this regular works-in-progress. Mondays. $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Much Ado About Lebowski: The Shakespeare adaptation of The Big Lebowski. Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 30. $30-$25. CELLspace, 2050 Bryant (at 18th St.), 648-7562.

The Pride: Alexi Kaye Campbell's story of a love triangle. Wednesdays-Sundays. Through July 3. $29. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972.

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