Robert Avila

Teeny 'Tiny'

Berkeley Rep's "Tiny Kushner" shows the towering playwright in lest than statuesque form
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THEATER A reunion between Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone and playwright Tony Kushner is a notable event. This is a relationship that goes back to the original production of Angels in America, after all. Currently up: Tiny Kushner. Read more »

Night of the living theater

Sleepwalkers' Zombie Town has brains (and eats them, too!)
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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A small Texas 'burb has just suffered attack by a horde of reanimated corpses, which can happen to anyone. Read more »

No pain, no gain

Thrillpeddlers' Torture Garden and Phantom Limb give the Halloween itch a satisfying scratch
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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Thrillpeddlers, the Bay Area's Grand Guignol maestros, is having a very good year. Read more »

Musical melange

Brief Encounter and South Pacific hit low and high notes
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arts@sfbg.com

STAGE Kneehigh Theatre's Noël Coward–inspired cinema-theater hybrid, Brief Encounter, the British import currently up at American Conservatory Theater, is a shrewd melding of winning formulas borrowed from more adventurous recent theatrical works as well as old-time British music hall entertainments. Read more »

Too clever by half

American Idiot's Broadway launch at Berkeley Rep
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">THEATER REVIEW With a notable streak of successful New York–bound liftoffs and landings — for everything from solo shows (Bridge & Tunnel) to unconventional musicals (Passing Strange) — it's fair to call Berkeley Rep the regional NASA to Broadway's firmament. It therefore seemed more savvy than surprising that the Rep took on staging Green Day's humongous hit concept album, American Idiot, as a musical. Read more »

Fringe follies

Sizing up SF's eclectic theater festival
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

The San Francisco Fringe Festival is, like, 18 or something this year. That used to mean you were middle-aged in, like, the Middle Ages. But this is 2000-and-something. The multi-venue Exit Theatre–centered Fringe, lottery-based democratic mayhem at its most unsound and intriguing, appears as youthful as ever. Read more »

Border bender

Thick Description's revival of Octavio Solis's El Otro is a trip
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

Heading south across the Rio Grande, their pants and shoes raised high over their heads, a 13-year-old Mexican American girl named Romy (Maria Candelaria) and her two sort-of fathers — inveterate bad boy Lupe (Sean San José) and straight-laced new stepdad Ben (Johnny Moreno) — wade into the past as their only way forward. Read more »

Stage four

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Theatrical picks for 2009's final act
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

You Can't Get There from Here Prized Bay Area performer Anne Galjour's latest solo play suggests you are where you live, while unearthing the real class and cultural divides underneath American feet, in this intensely researched and sharply amusing mapping of the nation 2009 courtesy of Z Space. Sept. Read more »

Rocked and rolled

Ambitious Rent Boy Ave. goes in and out of tune
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

Musical theater separates the men from the boys, and the gritty urban musical is especially tough to pull off. Hardcore violence, seedy city underbellies, bare midriffs, and a sprinkling of angel dust might make me or you want to burst into song, but it's still pretty jarring to witness. Nonetheless, the GUM as a subgenre is well established. Many would call Rent its quintessential expression. Others might go for Urinetown, if only to take the piss out of the Rent faction. Read more »

They will not be silent

The San Francisco Mime Troupe reaches 50 with "Too Big to Fail"
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

July 4 is Mime Troupe day in San Francisco, by tradition. Dolores Park, the place. There the venerable San Francisco company launches its annual free summer show — this year, the excellently timed and executed Too Big to Fail — surrounded by a varied throng of activists fanning out with ironing boards and literature among an audience of many hundreds basking in July rays, subversive laughter, and their own cheerful numbers.

Call it a day of independence from the usual bullshit, the jingo-jingle of national unity played for the masses from on high. Read more »