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Our critics weigh in on local theater

Cabaret. Based on John Van Druten's play I Am a Camera (which in turn was adapted from novelist Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories) Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb, and John Kander's 1966 musical tells the story of a couple of young expats living large in Weimar-era Berlin during the rise of the Nazi Party. SF Playhouse's style-savvy production team understands how to work the cozy 99-seat Playhouse space. Kim A. Tolman's Art Deco–infused set design succinctly captures the Weimar aesthetic. The addition of a row of round cafe-style tables and chairs close to the stage further creates an intimate, nightclub aura. This feeling is underscored by the doubling-up of actors as cabaret musicians. The dexterous performers move seamlessly from dancing and singing to leaping up into the cubbyhole-like inner stage at the back of the main performance area where they tackle everything from an accordion to a bubblegum-pink clarinet. The prevailing moods of desperation and oversexualization seem a little tired in the wake of other landmark productions, especially Sam Mendes' famous 1993 version starring Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming. As the cabaret's emcee, Brian Yates Sharber oozes androgyne raunchiness and an over-the-top Mitteleuropean accent. The Mendes-inspired bisexual riff on Kander and Ebb's song about threesomes, “Two Ladies,” might have seemed risqué in the 1990s, but barely titillates today. Through Sept. 20 at SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Tickets are $40-$55; call 677-9596 or visit (Chloe Veltman) Reviewed Sept. 3.

Point Break Live! Keanu Reeves' legacy looms large over this most excellent theatrical spoof of Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 film about a Los Angeles cop who goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of adrenaline-junkie surfing bank robbers. Never mind that the shoestring budget puts hiring Reeves, who starred in the film as FBI agent Johnny Utah, beyond the reach of the show's producers, New Rock Theater. While the plucky theatergoer selected at the start of each performance by audience applause to fill in for Reeves may not necessarily possess the star's cheekbones or surfer's physique, he (or she) will very likely manage to turn in at least as convincing a performance. Like Bigelow's movie, the stage adaptation hyperventilates. Familiarity with the film isn't mandatory, but it certainly helps us keep up with the hectic pace. Open run on Sundays at Fat City, 314 11th St. (at Folsom) S.F. Tickets are $25; call 866-811-4111 or visit (C.V.) Reviewed July 9.

Frozen: Eastenders Repertory Company's production of the Tony-nominated drama by Bryony Lavery about a mother, a serial killer, and a psychiatrist. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 14. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.

In My Corner: A coming-of-age memoir by Joe Orrach, one of the stars of Teatro ZinZanni, which tells his story through jazz, Latin, and rock 'n' roll music. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Sept. 14. Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia (at 15th St.), 626-3311.

More Stories by Tobias Wolff: Word for Word presents adaptations of new Wolff short stories. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 5. Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D (Marina & Buchanan), 441-8822.

Open Season: A Queer Performance Spectacular: Thea Hillman reads from Intersex: For Lack of a Better Word, along with guest readers. Through Sept. 14. The Garage, 975 Howard (at Sixth St.), 289-2000.

Patient A: A play about Kimberly Bergalis, who was infected with HIV by her dentist in 1987 and died of AIDS in 1991. Fri., Sept. 12; Sat., Sept. 13. Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1329 Seventh Ave. (at Judah), 664-2543.

Rock 'n' Roll: Tom Stoppard's Tony-nominated play about Prague's rock revolution. Sept. 11-Oct. 12. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.

Widow West: A comedy by Morgan Ludlow set in San Francisco's Gold Rush era. Sept. 11-Sept. 27. Stage Werx, 533 Sutter (at Powell).

Zoo Logic: A staged reading of a play by Trevor Allen in which a couple tries to spice up their sex life at the zoo. Sun., Sept. 14. Z Space Studio, 131 10th St. (at Mission), 626-0453.

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