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Our critics weigh in on local theater.

Wednesday, Jul 27 2011
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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.

American Buffalo: David Mamet's play. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 27. $26-$38. Actors Theatre San Francisco, 855 Bush (at Taylor), 345-1287.

Assisted Living: The Musical: A musical comedy about getting old. Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 14. $79.59-$99.50. 888-885-2844. www.assistedlivingthemusical.com. Imperial Palace, 818 Washington (at Grant), 888-885-2844.

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 Book of Liz: Custom Made Theatre Company presents a play by David and Amy Sedaris. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through July 31. $20-$28. www.custommade.org. Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough (at Bush).

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

Country Club Catastrophe: A farce that deconstructs notions of class and servitude in America. Starting July 28. Thu., July 28; Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Aug. 13. $20. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

Left-Handed Darling: Foul Play Productions launches its New Writers' Program with a story of murder set in the Dustbowl era. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Aug. 14. $20-$30. Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

Monday Night Marsh: Musicians, actors, performance artists, and others take the stage at this regular staging of works in progress. Mondays. $7. 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.

Tales of the City: Musical based on Armistead Maupin's LGBT fiction. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 31. $43-$108. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.

Tigers Be Still: A dark comedy involving graduate degrees, art therapy, family strife, and employers with guns. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through July 30. $20-$50. SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596.

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.

Twilight Zone Live: Season 8: Local actors and directors bring episodes of Rod Serling's famous TV show to life onstage. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through July 30. $20. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.

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 Geary).

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