Harmonic canons - Page 2

Schick Machine hits the right notes, while Lady Grey is upstaged

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One man, one woman: master percussionist Steven Schick take center stage in the Paul Drescher Ensemble's Schick Machine
PHOTO BY MARK PALMER

Lady Grey calls for a similar fearlessness and fierceness, depositing onstage something like a female version of Thom Pain to accost and cajole the "audience" (here too much a written idea of one to avoid those scare quotes) across the fourth wall. In the title and only role, Danielle O'Hare, as directed by Cutting Ball's Rob Melrose, was inconsistent if occasionally beguiling, rarely seeming to step out from behind the text, or rather to completely own its conceit of not being a text. But Melrose and O'Hare, who have done memorable work together in the past, are also essaying a less inspired play. Grey adds up to a hit-and-miss series of one-liners, not a very compelling total.

The other two short plays that make up the fairly brisk evening prove more rewarding. Intermission, which opens directly after one, is an amusing and almost wise desultory conversation between an older couple (Gwyneth Richards and David Sinaiko), and a younger one (Galen Murphy-Hoffman and O'Hare), during the intermission of a seemingly tedious play about life and death. Melrose gets superbly dry performances from his cast, doing full justice to this light but cunning little play riffing on theater's capacity for channeling yearning, regret, and blank obliviousness.

Cutting Ball regular Sinaiko then returns for the archly histrionic monologue Mr. Theatre Comes Home Different, a piece that the actor — playing an actor reveling in a state of decidedly Eno-esque self-consciousness — rocks with utter conviction. It's a high note to end on and, for all the seeming ambivalence and sentiment in this slice of Eno's oeuvre, went perfectly well with dinner.

SCHICK MACHINE

Through Sun/27, $10–$20

Z Space

450 Florida, SF

(800) 838-3006

www.brownpapertickets.com

LADY GREY (IN EVER LOWER LIGHT)

Through April 10, $15–$50

EXIT on Taylor

277 Taylor, SF

(800) 838-3006

www.brownpapertickets.com

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