Blood, gore, giggles galore at Impact Theatre

Mar 07

Blood, gore, giggles galore at Impact Theatre

Blood is fun – at least it is within the confines of Impact Theatre's omnibus presentation Bread and Circuses, a collection of nine short plays fairly dripping with the thick red stuff.

As you'd expect with such an assortment, there's a wide variety in style and substance here. There's also one easy-to-draw conclusion: endings are hard.

The most satisfying entries in this two-hour experience at LaVal's Subterranean include...

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If it looks and smells like fish, it must be The Fisherman’s Wife

Aug 26

If it looks and smells like fish, it must be <i>The Fisherman’s Wife</i>

You don't really expect Japanese erotic tentacle art to be the inspiration for a feel-good treatise on saving a broken marriage. But that's just what Steve Yockey delivers in the world premiere of The Fisherman's Wife, the season opener from Berkeley's Impact Theatre. Taking his cue from the Hokusai woodcut known as "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife," in which a happy lady is serviced by two octopi, Yockey spins a fast-paced, mostly comic adult fairy tale that begins with an epically unhappy husband and wife.

Cooper Minnow (Maro Guevara) is the titular fisherman. He comes from a long line of successful fisher folk, but he's a failure. His wife, Vanessa (Eliza Leoni), couldn't agree more. She claims her seaside life is "undercooked" and she hurls hurtful diatribes at her husband like, "I was bamboozled by the man I thought you were." Ouch.

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Shadows fall on suburbia in Yockey’s beguiling Bellwether

Oct 12

Shadows fall on suburbia in Yockey’s beguiling <i>Bellwether</i>

Audacious, entertaining and chilling, Steve Yockey’s world-premiere Bellwether at Marin Theatre Company goes where few plays dare to tread.

What starts out as a satiric look at suburban living – Bellwether is a nice neighborhood, we’re told over and over again, a gated community commuter distance from an unnamed big city – quickly becomes a potent family drama. A husband and wife (Gabriel Marin and Arwen Anderson) have hit some rocky ground as they and their about-to-turn-7 daughter try adjusting to suburban living.

The show becomes a crime thriller when little Amy disappears from her bed while her mom was downstairs with a neighbor and a bottle of wine. And then it turns into something Stephen King might dream up in a novel or short story. Yockey delves into the underworld of suburbia, a dark, dangerous place that balances the shiny, happy existence up top. That Yockey – MTC’s playwright in residence for the 2009-10 season – anchors the fantastical aspects of the story with his exploration of family life in the suburbs does him credit. He and director Ryan Rilette manage something very tricky here with a tone that shifts from satirical comedy to high drama to horror.

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Review: Octopus

May 29

Review: <i>Octopus</i>

Steve Yockey's Octopus is a thrilling, somewhat frustrating theatrical experience.

This inaugural co-production of the Magic Theatre and Encore Theatre Company delivers a first-rate production of a fascinating world-premiere play that ultimately comes up a little short only because Yockey sets the bar so high for himself at the outset.

What starts as another riff on gay romantic situation comedies quickly turns into something quite different then evolves into something else shortly after that.

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