Ray of Light’s Party is wild and winsome

May 26

Ray of Light’s <i>Party</i> is wild and winsome

San Francisco has known its share of wild parties, but the particular bit of revelry now happening at the Victoria Theatre under the auspices of Ray of Light theatre is of particular interest. Once again, this enterprising company ignites the local musical theater scene with remarkable energy and talent, and their production of The Wild Party imbues a flawed show with undeniable passion and pizazz.

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Golden Thread traverses a rocky Highway

May 10

Golden Thread traverses a rocky <i>Highway</i>

In his raggedy reflective vest and with his small voice booming, Traffic spends his days unlike most 8-year-olds: he waves traffic around a hairpin turn and in and out of a tunnel on the perilous mountain highway that links Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan. He is one of the "Pepsi boys" who ekes out a living waving a smashed soda bottle at passing cars, hoping for a few coins thrown his way as a tip. He also catches fish in the river at the bottom of the ravine and attempts to sell those as a snack to passing travelers.

The story of the Pepsi boys is a compelling one – check out this feature in the New York Times – and clearly playwright Kevin Artigue thought so, too. Their lives inspired his play The Most Dangerous Highway in the World, now receiving its world premiere from Golden Thread Productions.

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Drag rock nirvana in Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls

May 07

Drag rock nirvana in <i>Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls</i>

Once the full-out rock song "Flesh Popsicle" has reached its climax, there can be no doubt: Above and Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls is a bona fide rock musical performed by a raucous five-piece band (that includes a one-woman horn section!) and a raging cast of women, men and men-as-women that would send North Carolinians into fits of moral paralysis. In other words, this is an original drag rock musical that kicks (and shakes) some serious booty.

It should come as no surprise that this two-hour slice of "broad" comedy should come from the pen of D'Arcy Drollinger...

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Anne Boleyn seems to be heading in right direction

Apr 21

<i>Anne Boleyn</i> seems to be heading in right direction

The relationship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn – adulterous, adventurous and tragic (for Anne) – has long captivated the public imagination. Their story has been told on the page, on the stage and on screens large and small. There's been a shift in thinking about Anne, not as a vixen, home wrecker or overzealous climber but as a smart cookie who was more of a power player behind Henry's throne than we might have thought.

One such exploration can now bee seen on stage at Marin Theatre Company in Anne Boleyn, a 2010 play by Howard Brenton.

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Catching up with Colette & Cyrano

Apr 21

Catching up with Colette & Cyrano

So many shows, so little time!

Herewith, a petite voyage to France, first to check in with the writer Colette and then to catch up with the swashbuckling Cyrano de Bergerac. I reviewed both Colette Uncensored at The Marsh, a solo show starring and co-written by Lorri Holt (with Zack Rogow, and Cyrano, a new adaptation of Rostand's tale at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Tense, riveting Brothers from Crowded Fire

Apr 14

Tense, riveting <i>Brothers</i> from Crowded Fire

Not much happens in Jonas Hassen Khemiri's I Call My Brothers, a Crowded Fire Theater production at Thick House. But then again, everything happens.

This is a mostly subterranean drama, which is to say, a little happens on the surface – a young man goes about his day running errands and interacting with friends and family – but a whole lot more is happening in his thoughts, his imagination, his paranoia.

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