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.
The Beauty Queen of Leenane The B Street Theatre—which always recruits good actors, but has had a penchant for cheesy scripts of late—returns to strong form. This play put Martin McDonagh on the map (in a big way) in the ’90s. Set in a poverty pocket of rural Ireland, the story involves an unmarried 40-ish woman who cares for her manipulative, elderly mother. Temptation shows up in the form of a good-looking man with romantic intent, and what starts like a comedy develops into a dark family drama, well written and well played. Julia Brothers is very good in the title role.
B Street Theatre, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Friday, 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees on May 8, 15, 22 and 29, $10.75—$20.50, 2711 B St., 443-5300. Through June 2. J.H.
Bleacher Bums An odd but appealing assortment of fans gather under sunny skies to enjoy the Chicago Cubs, make a few wagers, sip a few beers, try to pick up a sunbathing waitress, etc. It’s a conversational slice of life, rather like attending a real ballgame. A friendly cast, some effective sound design, and an amiable, freewheeling style make for a pleasant outing.
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, dinner at 6 p.m. and show at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and brunch at 11 a.m. and show at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, $29-$34 for dinner and show/$17 show only. 12401 Folsom Blvd. (in the old Nimbus Winery), Rancho Cordova, 985-6361. Through June 23. J.H.
The Curate Shakespeare As You Like It The conceit here is a faltering little company of actors taking on the classic Shakespeare comedy, with backstage hijinks overlaying the sometimes desperate attempts to keep the show moving along. The idea has appeal, but wears thin before the evening’s through.
California Stage, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 1725 25th St., 451-5822. Through June 9. J.H.
Loose Ends This ’70s tale begins with a nearly naked couple on a beach in Bali and ends with the same pair in a bedroom in New York. Along the way, Paul and Susan go from bohemian world wanderers to (still sexually bohemian) careerists in the Big Apple. Along the way they marry, disagree about having kids, smoke lots of cigarettes and do beer. Actors Michael Begovich and Mary Strong are good lookers who have the personal details (straight to sex) in order, but several supporting characters in this interesting low-budget show miss the mark. You can’t dismiss the foreboding that one member of this couple will get an HIV diagnosis soon, and wonder why.
Actors Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Blvd. 925-6579. Through June 9. J.H.
Private Lives Private Lives is light fare done well, a comedy of manners that’s a high-society immorality play infused with playwright Noel Coward’s droll wit and wicked sense of impropriety. Real-life marrieds Luther Hanson and Christine Nicholson portray the eccentric and deliciously moral-lacking ex-spouses Elyot and Amanda, who run into each other during honeymoons with new spouses, and quicker than you can say “shilly shally,” the two hedonists dump their respective newlyweds and rekindle old passions. How the audience comes to root for this self-centered, smug twosome can be chalked up to Coward’s writing genius and Hanson and Nicholson’s winning acting talents.
Synergy Stage-Delta King Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, $14-$16. On the Delta King, 1000 Front St., Old Sacramento, 995-5464. Though June 8. P.R.
Six Women With Brain Death This very campy revue is Sacramento’s longest-running show, having celebrated its fifth anniversary in October. It’s a series of skits and songs about midlife women with “expiring minds,” dealing with soap operas, high-school reunions, grocery shopping and getting away from the kids. While the show clearly tickles the funnybone of its core audience (females over 40), our critic found the appeal elusive and the humor generic. But then, he’s a middle-aged guy.
Studio Theatre, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $14-$18. 1028 R St., 446-2668. Open-ended run. J.H.
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. Run extended to Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1. J.H.