Stage Reviews

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The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) This demolition derby through the entire Shakespeare canon is a sort of “supergroup” affair, featuring three of the region’s best comic actors: Gary Alan Wright of Foothill Theatre Company, Matt K. Miller of Sacramento Theatre Company and Greg Alexander of B Street Theatre. Together, they take down Hamlet (forward and backward), turn the gory tragedy Titus Andronicus into a ghoulish TV cooking show, summarize Othello as a rhyming rap number and knock off all the comedies in a single frantic scene. There’s a lot of dubious humor and earthy innuendo, numerous bad wigs and kooky swordfights, and several deliberately awful death scenes. Each episode is scripted, but some jokes are improvised, and part of the enjoyment comes from watching these three capable funnymen work off each other’s onstage energy.
Foothill Theatre Company; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $24-$26. Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, (530) 265-8587 or (888) 730-8587, Through August 13. Also August 14 at the
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; $22-$67, or $14 for those age 15 and under. Sand Harbor State Park, three miles south of Incline Village in Nevada; (800) 74-SHOWS; J.H.

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The Last Five Years The B Street Theatre’s summer offering is a “micro-musical”—a chamber piece in a 100-seat venue involving two professional actors and a cute four-piece band (piano, violin, cello and bass) and no mics. It’s a different kind of experience than a big Music Circus show. You’re closer to the performers, but you don’t get the elaborate choreography with a dozen dancers in eye-popping costumes. But The Last Five Years is still a musical, which is to say that it’s dominated by a love story, told with an interesting conceit. She starts with the breakup and works back to the beginning, while he tells the tale in linear fashion from start to finish. They get married in the middle. Writer Jason Robert Brown delivers clever lyrics and catchy melodies (which won Drama Desk Awards following the show’s New York run).
B Street Theatre; 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday, with 1 p.m. Wednesday matinees through August 30; $23-$28. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through September 10. J.H.

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Othello Director Scott Gilbert offers a fairly orthodox take on this classic, though he interprets the action in the deadly finale a little differently than it’s often done. As Othello, actor Reginald Andre Jackson skillfully articulates his character’s rising suspicion, frustration and fury. He could display more noble bearing and assured, natural leadership early on, and he could deliver Othello’s late speeches with more ringing authority—qualities that would make Othello’s swift fall even more tragic. Carolyn Howarth shines as Emilia. Actor Scott Coopwood makes for a “hot” Iago, sipping from a hidden flask, stewing and sweating as his scheme to undermine Othello evolves.
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; 7:30 p.m. August 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19; $22-$67, or $14 for those age 15 and under. Sand Harbor State Park, three miles south of Incline Village in Nevada; (800) 74-SHOWS; J.H.

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Stones in his Pockets A frustrated Hollywood movie crew is looking for authenticity in a remote Irish town, but the hired extras’ Irish jigs aren’t jiggy enough, and the local brogues are too brogue-y. These locals just aren’t “lucky charming.” In this fast-paced, witty play, two actors portray a dozen characters of various ages, genders and nationalities. Jonathan Rhys Williams and Timothy Orr display seamless teamwork, not only in their overlapping dialogue and split-second character morphing, but also in their speedy physical interactions. The first half is played for laughs, showcasing the absurdities of the situation. When tragedy strikes, the second half reveals bitterness toward the town’s exploitation.
Capital Stage; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $46-$51 for dinner and the show and $20-$24 for the show only. On the Delta King, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464, Through August 27. P.R.

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Twelfth Night Director Nancy Carlin delivers the mellowest, most beguiling version of this oft-produced comedy we’ve seen in years. The setting is the psychedelic Pepperland (borrowed from the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine), with colorful garb by Callie Floor and a Beatles-influenced score by Michael Rasbury, who really nails the concept. Shakespeare’s text adapts naturally to this slightly stoned, soft-focus interpretation: Love is constantly in the air, albeit not always focusing on the most appropriate partner. Hence the comedy, mostly surrounding Viola (spunky, charming Megan Smith), who spends most of the play impersonating a young man. Carlin avoids the dark shadows other directors sometimes locate in this play; even the shipwreck that sets the story in motion seems more like a bad trip than a deadly disaster. But this “light” interpretation works well.
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; 7:30 p.m. August 10, 12, 16, 18 and 20; $22-$67, or $14 for those age 15 and under. Sand Harbor State Park, three miles south of Incline Village in Nevada; (800) 74-SHOWS; J.H.

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Wishing Well Wishing Well opens on a stormy night in Bald Head Island, N.C., as Callie Quayle explains she’s been called to her childhood home, along with her younger sister, by their mother—who holds a 19-year-old secret. Not to be outdone, the sisters have planned to unveil their own lies and omissions. Seamless acting by the entire cast allows the audience to fully enjoy the laughs with a complete suspension of disbelief. B Street’s production values are top-notch, and author Jon Klein’s use of the family’s wishing well—with its own special rules—to oust the truth is compelling.
B Street Theatre; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday, with 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees through August 30; $23-$28. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300, Through September 10. M.C.