Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at email@example.com. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.
*Geezer Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Previews Thurs, 8pm; Sat, 5pm; Sun, 3pm (through March 27). Opens March 31. Thurs, 8pm; Sat, 5pm; Sun, 3pm. Through May 1. The Marsh presents a new solo show about aging and mortality by Geoff Hoyle.
As Always Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; www.AsAlwaysTickets.com. $25. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through March 27. Tracy Ward directs a new musical by Peter W. Tucker.
*Caliente Pier 29, The Embarcadero; 438-2668, www.love.zinzanni.org. $117-145. Wed-Sat, 6pm; Sun, 5pm. Open-ended. Teatro Zinzanni presents a new production conceived in San Francisco.
*40 Pounds in 12 Weeks: A Love Story The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $15-35. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Sat/26. "I hate assumptions," says Pidge Meade. In fact, her new solo show, about her experience as a young woman of size on a brutal crash diet, goes a long way toward unsettling more than one. Developed and directed by Charlie Varon (Rush Limbaugh in Night School, Rabbi Sam), Meade's multi-character monologue eschews easy sentiment for a sharply performed, consistently funny and genuine engagement with her younger, bigger self. Framed by a 20-year college reunion during which she suffers an unwanted conversation with an old roommate about her intervening dramatic weight loss, Meade recounts trying to lose 40 unwanted pounds to please her devoted but "harsh" father, an Olympic-level gymnastics coach shocked and appalled by her weight gain while at school. The father-daughter story comes interlarded with a few other encounters and characters measuring the variety of attitudes and approaches to weight among women in her Midwestern milieu. Meanwhile, Meade's problematic relationship with her demanding if ultimately responsive father finds an unexpected echo in her former roommate's pushy inquisitiveness (which, we learn, stems from her own desperate concern over a beloved but obese teen nephew). It's in quietly mingling awkwardness, fear, and love that Meade's piece can really surprise, and reaffirm that whatever else follows, it's the usual assumptions that need shedding first. (Avila)
The Homecoming American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. Call for times and prices. Through Sun/27. North London in the mid-1960s served Harold Pinter well as an apt location for an enduring vision of familial nightmare, namely a jockeying tribe of self-interested working-class men bent on embracing as much as destroying one another. Into this testy household returns for a visit, unannounced and in the wee hours, one of their own: social climber Teddy (Anthony Fusco) back from America with wife Ruth (René Augesen). What happens next still has real force, even if it's sometimes missing in American Conservatory Theater's current revival. A family unit of vipers and sadists and weirdoes is still a family unit, but real connections between the actors are few here. Augesen's Ruth—startlingly set free from deadening domestic harmony by the braying barnyard she soon comes to dominate—is the riveting center of attention, but the tension overall remains diffuse and inconsistent despite her gravitational pull. As the pugnacious patriarch, Max, slipping mercilessly from his historic spot at the top of the dog pile, Jack Willis is a bit all over the place, sometimes physically—director Carey Perloff has him well across the room in the opening scene's vital first confrontation, instead of up in the grill of coiled son Lenny (Andrew Polk)—but in tone and register too. Kenneth Welsh's fine performance as Max's superficially calm brother Sam goes some way toward grounding the proceedings, but the other performances remain more dutiful than distinguished and the production never quite attains the pressure and threat it should. (Avila)
James Bond: Lady Killer Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission; 732-9592, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/26. Dark Room Theater presents an all-new James Bond adventure.
Lady Grey (in ever lower light) EXIT on Taylor, 277 Taylor; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-50. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through April 10. Cutting Ball Theater presents the Bay Area premiere of three short plays by Will Eno.
*Loveland Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Sat/26. Ann Randolph's one-woman show extends its run.
M. Butterfly Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough; (510) 207-5774, www.custommade.org. $20-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also April 3 and 10, 7pm). Through April 16. Custom Made Theatre presents David Henry Hwang's award-winning play.
*Obscura: A Magic Play Exit Studio, 156 Eddy; 673-3847, www.sffringe.org. $20-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through April 16. Christian Cagigal is back with the magical. Over the last several years, the popular Bay Area writer/performer has developed a series of dramatically structured magic shows (the most recent being the autobiographical Now and at the Hour), each a different attempt at blending expert prestidigitation with elements of narrative theater. Tightly focused and deliberately small-scale, Obscura is in some ways his most successful foray yet. In the Exit Theater's new studio space, Cagigal (with occasional help from his audience) unfolds a series of sly Gothic stories combined with extremely clever, sometimes dementedly playful card and coin tricks—the majority a collection of favorite pieces from other magicians—all played out on a delicately managed little table augmented by overhead projection (a set-up that offers various visual opportunities, including use of title cards). Rapid-fire narration (occasionally indistinct but generally articulate) and a laid back, slightly mischievous demeanor combine here with consummate skill in an intimate and very enjoyable evening of crafty little tales. If there's an overarching theme, it probably has something to do with human folly, the persistence of mystery, and the devil, but then any good fable involving a deck of cards probably should. (Avila)
The Oldest Profession Brava Theater, 2781 24th St; 647-2822, www.brava.org. $10-25. Brava Theater presents a play by Paula Vogel, directed by Evren Odcikin.
Out of Sight Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Thurs and Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Sun/27. Sara Felder's one-woman show extends its run.
Party of 2 — The New Mating Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; 1-800-838-3006, www.partyof2themusical.com. $27-29. Fri, 9pm. Open-ended. A musical about relationships by Shopping! The Musical author Morris Bobrow.
*Pearls Over Shanghai Thrillpeddlers' Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St; 1-800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $30-69. Sat, 8pm. Through April 9. Thrillpeddlers' acclaimed production of the Cockettes musical continues its successful run.
Regrets Only New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $24-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 3. New Conservatory Theatre presents a play by Paul Rudnick, directed by Andrew Nance.
7 Sins...One More Time! EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $25-40. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through April 10. James Judd's long-running comedy hit has a return engagement.
Sex and Death: A Night with Harold Pinter Phoenix Theatre, Suite 601, 414 Mason; 1-800-838-3006, www.offbroadwaywest.org. $35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/26. The thing with Harold Pinter is you never know for certain whether he means for something to be funny or not. Take his most celebrated one-act, The Dumb Waiter, a rather tense dialogue between two hit-men waiting for their mark to show which veers into disarmingly surrealist territory once they start receiving mysterious lunch orders via a creaky dumbwaiter, despite not having any food, or indeed any gas to cook food on. Is this Pinter's attempt to lighten the mood in an otherwise joyless examination of two minor functionaries in the criminal underworld, or is it a way for him to interject more unease into their already intractable situation? In Off-Broadway West's staging they opt mainly for the latter interpretation, neither Gus (Conor Hamill) nor Ben (Shane Fahy) play up much of the sly humor tucked into their lines, and when the "surprise" twist arrives, it feels like a foregone conclusion. More deftly nuanced, the second one-act on the bill, The Lover milks the sex lives of the petty bourgeoisie for all the hidden wit and complicated innuendo that could possibly be excavated. Morphing from chilly society marrieds to shameless afternoon fling and "common garden slut" Chad Stender and Nicole Helfer play out a tightly-wound sexual fantasy with a cool edge, a satisfying end to a low-key revival. (Gluckstern)
Shopping! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, www.shoppingthemusical.com. $27-29. Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. A musical comedy revue about shopping by Morris Bobrow.
Tenth Annual Bay One-Acts Festival Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma; 891-7235, www.bayoneacts.org. $20-32. Wed-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3 and 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Sat/26. Three Wise Monkeys Theatre Company presents the tenth incarnation of the curated festival.
Free Range Thinking Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through April 9. The Marsh Berkeley presents a new comedic solo show by Robert Dubac.
The Iliad Berkeley City Club, 1802 Fairview, Berk; (510) 698-4030. $12-24. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 3. Inferno Theatre Company presents an adaptation of Homer's ancient tale.
Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Berkeley Playhouse, 2640 College; (510) 845-8542, www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $15-33. Call for dates and times. Through April 3. Berkeley Playhouse presents a musical fantasy based on the C.S. Lewis story.
The North Pool TheatreWorks at Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefiled, Palo Alto; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $24-67. Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through April 3. TheatreWorks presents a psychological thriller by Rajiv Joseph.
Not a Genuine Black Man The Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $20-35. Thurs, 7:30pm. Through March 31. Brian Copeland's one-man show returns to the stage.
Romeo and Juliet La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/26. Bet you thought Romeo and Juliet was just a sappy love story at its beating heart. But as Impact Theatre's artistic director Melissa Hillman, fight director Dave Meier, and production "blood technician" Tunuviel Luv manage to remind us, R&J is known as a tragedy for good reason—full of escalating violence and a bodycount almost as high as Hamlet's. Before they snuff it though, Romeo (Michael Garret McDonald) and Juliet (Luisa Frasconi) fall in love in a meet-cute, after-school special way: Frasconi exhibiting the coltish excitability of a very young teenager, and doofy McDonald egged on by a pack of uncouth youth (Seth Thygesen as Benvolio, Marilet Martinez as Mercutio, Miyuki Bierlein as Balthasar) who pretty much steal the show with their crass deconstruction of Romeo's woes. Unfortunately, the Russian mafia angle is less fully fleshed out than the teen romance portion of the show. Yes, the mobsters all sport some great tattoos, carry mean-looking pistols, and occasionally deliver their lines in Russian thanks to language consultant Helen Nesteruk, but setting the show in the ex-pat Russian community "in the Bay Area" dilutes the extreme feudalism that setting the show in Moscow would imply, and allows the production to rely a little too heavily on familiar California-isms—phrases, behaviors, and fashions— rather than committing fully to exploring the vastly different world of the Russkaya Mafiya. (Gluckstern)
*Ruined Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-73. Call for dates and times. Through April 10. Berkeley Rep presents Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer-winning play about the lives of women in Africa.
Singing at the Edge of the World The Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-35. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through April 16. The Marsh presents a one-man show by Randy Rutherford.
World's Funniest Bubble Show The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $8-11. Sun, 11am. Through April 3. The Amazing Bubble Man extends the bubble-making celebration.
Marga's Funny Mondays Cabaret at Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk.; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. Mon/28, 8pm. $10. Marga Gomez hosts a Monday night comedy series. *