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Our critics weigh in on local theater

Wednesday, Jan 21 2009
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No Parole. If Pedro Almodóvar ever did a one-man show, it would probably be something like this. No Parole is part self-revelation and part telenovela, telling the outrageous story of Carlo D'Amore's childhood in Peru, immigration to America, and development as a con artist under the eye of his cheerfully unscrupulous mother. D'Amore manically careens between continents and decades, and if he does so with more verve than precision, he still manages to create a generous, vividly imagined world of grand larceny and very poor parenting. The show's best moments occur during the small sequences involving well-drawn minor characters, such as a hilarious bit in which he portrays a volunteer at a gay men's health clinic. He's a little less successful in tracing the broader strokes of his long and complicated relationship with his mother. As a result, the show doesn't quite earn its climactic emotional payoff, with D'Amore's final attempt to connect emotionally with his audience proving a little too trite to be satisfying. On balance, though, No Parole is a fine showcase for a good showman, and the stories he tells will make you wonder why you ever complained about your own weird and horrible childhood. Through Jan. 25 at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), S.F. $15-$50; 826-5750 or www.themarsh.org. (Chris Jensen) Reviewed Dec. 3.

7 Sins: James Judd's one-man comedy about his own life. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Feb. 21. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847, www.sffringe.org.

Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?: Josh Kornbluth's new one-man show. Through Jan. 22, 8 p.m., $20-$25. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission (at Third St.), 591-8800, www.thecjm.org.

Beach Blanket Babylon: A North Beach perennial featuring crazy hats, media personality caricatures, a splash of romance, and little substance. Now with Rod Blagojevich! Wednesdays, Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 6:30 & 9:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 5 p.m., $25-$80, www.beachblanketbabylon.com. 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), 433-1226, www.sheltontheater.com.

Dolls: Michael Phillis' comedy about a man and his life with dolls. Starting Jan. 22, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 22. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

Forking!: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Jan. 31. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 820-1656, www.cafearts.com.

Geezer: Geoff Hoyle's show about getting older. Wed., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., $10-$15. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Great Tennessee Monkey Trial: A drama by Peter Goodchild, starring Ed Asner. Thu., Jan. 22, 8 p.m. Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California (at Presidio), 292-1200, www.jccsf.org.

Here: A comedy by Michael Frayn about a young couple, directed by Stephen Drewes. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Feb. 7. Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

New Pickle Circus: The Pickle Family vet and Circus Center newbies dazzle audiences. Sat., Jan. 24, 5 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 25, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California (at Presidio), 292-1200, www.jccsf.org.

Iolanthe: Lamplighters Music Theatre presents a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. Jan. 23-25. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-2787, www.ybca.org.

Meadowland: Ian Walker's small-town mystery. Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 31. Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Geary), Suite 601, 989-0023.

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

Not a Genuine Black Man: Brian Copeland returns for another go-around. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Feb. 14. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Rich and Famous: John Guare's play about an eager playwright. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 8, $14-$82. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228, www.act-sfbay.org.

SF Follies: Name that reference in John Bisceglie's tale of the city. Starting Jan. 22, Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 26. Actors Theatre San Francisco, 855 Bush (at Taylor), 345-1287.

Shopping! The Musical: Songs and sketches about shopping. Daily, $23-$29, www.shoppingthemusical.com. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226, www.sheltontheater.com.

Song for Coretta: Pearl Cleage's drama about civil rights icon Coretta Scott King. Starting Jan. 22, Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Feb. 7. Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St. (at York), 647-2822.

Teatro ZinZanni's License to Kiss: Sabine Hettlich stars in the espionage thriller, with a side of dinner. Wednesdays-Sundays, $116-$190, 438-2668, www.zinzanni.org. Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery).

Tennessee in the Summer: Joe Besecker's drama probes Tennessee Williams. Starting Jan. 22, Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 1. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

T.I.C. Trenchcoat in Common: Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's new show about blogging. Through Feb. 1. Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D, Marina & Buchanan, 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org.

Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding: Be a part of the wedding reception at Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding. Thursdays-Saturdays, www.pier39shows.com. Theatre 39 at Pier 39, 2 Beach (at Embarcadero).

Tough Titty: Oni Faida Lampley's drama about a battle with breast cancer. Starting Jan. 24, Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 22, $25-$75. Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D, Marina & Buchanan, 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org.

Wicked: The Tony Award–winning musical. Starting Jan. 27, Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 27. Orpheum Theater, 1192 Market (at Eighth St.), 512-7770.

Women on the Way Festival: The annual performance and dance festival presented by Footloose Dance Company. Through Feb. 1, www.ftloose.org. Shotwell Studios, 3252A 19th St. (at Folsom), 289-2000, www.venue9.com/shotwell.html.

About The Author

Chris Jensen

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