More Theater Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Clue. It's worrisome when the preshow announcement to a play based on a 1985 cult classic film includes a caveat that audience-goers should probably be drunk, and also that we should watch the movie at least five times in order to “get” the play. Luckily, neither of those prerequisites were necessary to enjoy Clue, the ribald and disorderly murder mystery based on the popular board game (and film). The play stays faithful to the film's plot, while also mocking its wonky editing and mysteriously disappearing accents in asides to the audience, which adds a boisterous freshness to the whodunit spoof. Big ups go to Mrs. Peacock (J. Conrad Frank aka Katya Smirnoff-Skyy) for a spot-on, hysterical impression of film icon Eileen Brennan, and to Mrs. White (Michelle Ianiro), whose unhinged sauciness adds a delightful layer of bring-it to the role. The stage itself is a life-size board that the audience looks down at from above, creating a visually arresting Petri dish effect (after the Friday show, the cast plays Clue-the-game as life-size playing pieces). For all the play's pleasant predictability, one minor grievance was the unnecessary use of blackface for a minor character. Barring that, however, Clue is a highly energetic spectacle that definitely holds up a candlestick to the movie. Through Feb. 19 at the Boxcar Theater, 505 Natoma (at Sixth St.), S.F. $25-$35; 776-1747 or (Anna Pulley) Reviewed Jan. 26.

Mike Daisey's The Last Cargo Cult. Let me be audacious. Theater is about storytelling, and Mike Daisey is the best storyteller out there. He has a simple style, similar to Spalding Gray's monologues, of sitting at a wooden desk, with a glass of water and some notes he occasionally refers to. He doesn't stutter, search “naturally” for lines, or ever say “umm”; he is intense, has a barely contained madness behind his eyes, and hardly pauses for two thrilling hours. The subject of this monologue is money, the “liquid that bonds us together and corrodes all our relationships” and yet lets us obsessively buy “awesome shit.” While weaving a fascinating, Indiana Jones–style tale of traveling to the South Pacific to an “island just beyond the reach of money,” Daisey confronts us, as well as himself, with funny and painful anecdotes of our devotion to the religion of the dollar, educates us about the recent financial crash, and celebrates our obsession with “wanting.” It's clear all along that Daisey is a masterful artist, unafraid to be unsympathetic, and to be the perpetrator and as well as the victim in his stories. This is a must-see theatrical experience. Through Feb. 27 at Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley. $29-$73; 510-647-2949 or (Nathaniel Eaton) Reviewed Jan. 26.

Art: A play by Yasmina Reza, performed in French, about three friends and a conflict over a work of art. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Feb. 12. $15. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

Audition: A play about the theater and trying out. Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Feb. 13. $25-$36. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

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. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100.

Bone to Pick and Diadem: Two one-woman shows about the myth of Ariadne. Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 13. $15-$50. Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor (at Ellis), 673-3847.

The Business: A Comedy Show: With Chris Garcia, Sean Keane, Alex Koll, and Bucky Sinister. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. $5. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.

“Cupid's Song: A Day for Lovers”: Special Valentine's Day show by S.F. Recovery Theatre. Sat., Feb. 12, 6 p.m. $5-$8. Martuni's, 4 Valencia (at Market), 241-0205.

The Dog and Pony Show: Solo show by Holly Hughes. Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Feb. 27. $15-$50. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

How We First Met: Improvisational comedy show based on audience stories. Sat., Feb. 12, 8 p.m. $25-$59. 392-4400. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), 392-4400.

Loveland: Solo show by Ann Randolph. Fridays, Saturdays; Through Feb. 26. $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 event that's hosted local celebs like Josh Kornbluth and Marga Gomez in the past; see for a lineup of future shows. Mondays. $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Nothing to Do with Love: A collection of comedic sketches. Feb. 11-12, 7:30 p.m. $10. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.

Obscura: A Magic Show: Christian Cagigal's one-person narrative involving magic and audience participation. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through April 16. $15-$25. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

Out of Sight: Sara Felder's solo performance depicting a mother who's almost blind and her lesbian daughter as they attempt to “see” each other. Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Feb. 13. $15-$50. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.

Pearls over Shanghai: Thrillpeddlers brings back the Cockettes. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through April 9. $30. The Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), 377-4202.

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. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100.

Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell: The Custom Made Theatre Company presents a new play. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 19. $20-$25. The Next Stage, 1620 Gough (at Bush), 333-6389.

Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding: Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, 7 p.m. $88.50-$115.50. Swiss Louis Restaurant at Pier 39, 2 Beach (at Embarcadero), 421-2913.

Under the Crust: Romance at the Gas & Gulp: The return of Sean Owens as Cora Values. Starting Feb. 11. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Feb. 19. $15-$25. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.

Upper Cut Improv Showcase: Improv and sketch comedy. Fridays, 7 p.m. $5. San Francisco Comedy College, 414 Mason (at Geary), 921-2051.

“A Victor/Victoria Valentine”: A Marc Huestis production; therefore, truly, genuinely, deeply fabulous. Stars Lesley Ann Warren live onstage. Mon., Feb. 14, 9:30 p.m. $8. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (at Market), 621-6120.

What We're Up Against: Play about a group of architects rushing to design a mall. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 6. $20-$60. Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D, Marina & Buchanan, 441-8822.

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