By Joseph Geha
By Jonathan Kiefer
By Katie Tandy
By Mollie McWilliams
By Jennifer Baires
By Jonathan Curiel
By Sherilyn Connelly
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.
All Atheists Are Muslim: Written and performed by Zahra Noorbakhsh. Starting June 5. Sundays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through July 10. $20. Stage Werx, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 730-3433.
Assassins: Stephen Sondheim musical. Saturday, 2, 8 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.
The Business: A Comedy Show: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $5. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.
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.
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.
Monday Night Marsh: On select Mondays a different lineup of musicians, actors, performance artists, and others takes the stage at this regular works-in-progress. Mondays. $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.
The Real Americans: Dan Hoyle's solo performance. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through July 23. $25-$50. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.
Secret Improv Society: Underground improvisational theater. Saturdays, 10 p.m. $15. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100.
Shopping! The Musical: Songs and sketches about shopping. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. $23-$29. www.shoppingthemusical.com. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100.
Upper Cut Improv Showcase: Improv and sketch comedy. Fridays, 7 p.m. $5. San Francisco Comedy College, 414 Mason (at Geary), 921-2051.
Your F!#&ed Up Relationship: Improv based on real-life relationship problems supplied by audience members. Fridays. free. Alcove Theater, 414 Mason (at Derby).
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