Stage Reviews

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Almost Grown Up Aviva Jane Carlin is Lizzie, a 46-year-old Cockney housewife who still wrestles with mother issues, in this one-woman play at Sacramento Theatre Company. Carlin is a born storyteller, making you laugh one minute and sigh with recognition the next. At a mere 70 minutes, however, the play feels rather aborted—a lost opportunity easily remedied by Carlin adding a few more stories to round out more fully the premise of mother-daughter entanglements. But if the worst you can say about a play is that you want more, that’s not a bad thing at all.
Sacramento Theatre Company , 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, with matinees 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $16 - $35. 1419 H St., 443-6722. Through June 2. P.R.

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Death Trap Ira Levin, author of middlebrow best-sellers (Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys From Brazil) had tongue-in-cheek when he wrote this “one-set, five-character money-maker” back in the ’70s—making smirking remarks about the clichés of the murder-mystery genre, while deploying them at the same time. Just about every character has a motive to kill, and there are lots of nasty weapons conveniently at hand. You can also smile over the dated references to such obsolete technologies as carbon paper. This production won’t make converts out of skeptics, but fans of the form will enjoy the ride.
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre , 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Sunday, show only $17, dinner/show $34. 12401 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova, 985-6361. Through April 28. J.H.

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Eleanor: An American Love Story Eleanor Roosevelt may not make the most likely subject for a musical love story. But Woodland Opera House’s production of Eleanor: An American Love Story is a lovely journey, at a stately pace, through our nation’s past, with several good songs and a strong sense of history. The large cast is dominated by three strong performances—Elizabeth Monet Nilsen as Eleanor, Don Hayden as FDR and Bob Baxter, who appears as Teddy Roosevelt and also as savvy backroom strategist Louis Howe. The show’s a bit long—particularly the first half, which runs 90 minutes. But this very ambitious community production is worth the time invested.
Woodland Opera House , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $10-$18. Woodland Opera House, 320 Second St., Woodland, (530) 666-9617. Through May 5. J.H.

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Little Shop of Horrors At once both an audaciously campy and a strangely sweet sentimental story of Skid Row florist Seymour, who captures clerk Audrey’s heart and saves his boss’ failing flower shop when he discovers a hungry plant with an insatiable appetite. The Foothill Theatre captures everything that makes this musical so charming—it’s fun, irreverent, earnest, delightfully demented, and mysteriously moving. Out of a bouquet of good performances, two really bloom—Karen Casl as the voluptuous-yet-vulnerable Audrey and Fredrick Snyder as the evil-incarnate Orin, D.D.S.
Foothill Theatre Company , 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday,. $17-$21. 401 Broad St., Nevada City, (530) 265-8587. Through April 21. P.R.

Love Letters For Valentine’s Day (and after), this production features different couples from the local theater community, reading A.R. Gurney’s popular play, which relates the story of two lifelong friends (and lovers) from the time they’re growing up well into middle age, told through the exchange of old-fashioned letters—the kind the postman used to bring. We’re not rating it, because the cast rotates from week to week.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. $16, reservations required. 1901 P. St., 444-8209. Extended through April 27. J.H.

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Playland South African playwright Athol Fugard’s first post-apartheid drama explores the unsettled future relationships and unresolved painful pasts of two societies coming to grips with massive societal changes. Playland isn’t Fugard’s best play, but its second half builds the suspense to a nice payoff, and it has two remarkable performances: James Wheatley brings dignity and a sizzling anger to watchman Martinus Zoeloe, while Craig Pelusi is riveting as the puffed-up, pugnacious Captain Gideon LeRoux. The two actors eloquently elevate this play with their unforgettable portrayals of two oddly matched, kindred spirits, leaving a lasting impression.
Celebration Arts , 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $10, $12. 4469 D St., 455-2787. Through May 4. P.R.

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Sorta … Director/choreographer/composer Doniel Soto tackles humorous, everyday sitations in this original ensemble piece. The performers are dressed as clowns, with crazy hair and exaggerated gestures, speaking and singing in nonsense language. The show consists of vignettes reflecting the frustrations of modern life, such as waiting in line at the ATM. Cell-phone users come in for particular ribbing. The best scenes are the big ones in which Soto can explore his style of physical theater on a large scale—for instance, a hockey-like game involving paddles and little four-wheeled boards.
Abandon Productions at The Space , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10. 2509 R St., 737-2304. Through May 18. J.H.

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Talley’s Folly Lanford Wilson’s script (Pulitzer, 1980) tells of an unlikely romance between an urban, Jewish intellectual and a young woman from a conservative, rural Missouri village. The action takes place on a quiet night in a decaying old boathouse on a river—the Delta King Theatre, which is also on the water, is a nice complement, even if the venerable old boat’s a little noisy. Actors Dan Slauson and Heather Williams do well individually in their roles, but don’t seem entirely plausible as late-blooming lovers.
Delta King Theatre , 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Show only $14-$16, dinner/show $36-$41. 1000 Front St., Old Sacramento. 995-5464. Through April 13. J.H.