Art This 75-minute chamber play features three men, two of whom are alpha males. At issue: the artistic importance of an expensive painting—white stripes on a white background. The guy who bought it believes it’s a modern statement. The erstwhile friend thinks it’s trash. Cast members Greg Alexander and Hassan El-Amin puff up like male peacocks asserting dominance, which is often funny to watch but sometimes a little cruel, as well. Matt Miller plays their mutual friend; he’s less successful in terms of career, and he’s nerve-wracked over an impending marriage. Good acting and efficient direction (Anthony DeFonte) largely compensate for this small-scale play’s inherent limitations.
Sacramento Theatre Company , 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, plus 12:30 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees and a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 29. $18-$36. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722. Through March 30. J.H.
Circus Minimus This 75-minute show displays several hallmarks of Doniel Soto’s previous “movement theater” shows: few spoken words; lots of bending and stretching and visual pictures created with intertwined human forms; minimal props; and chanting and a cappella singing. Soto’s focus this time is a tongue-in-cheek takedown of the once ultra-hip but now mainstream Cirque du Soleil. The show opens as farce: The performers execute entirely ordinary “feats” and then strike heroic poses, inviting applause. But gradually, Circus Minimus opens into several lovely tricks, which simultaneously resemble and satirize the whole cirque genre. Good fun from Abandon Productions.
The Space , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10-$13. 2509 R Street, (916) 737-2304 or ABANDONemail@aol.com. Dress warmly on cold nights; there is no heat. Through April 19. J.H.
Fossils Playwright Claudia Allen gives us two exceptional characters in her look at a generation of frustrated women who spent years in proper roles and living lives for others. Prim retired professor Abigail and free-spirited retired teacher Carrie meet while vacationing at a cottage and converse about everything from old loves to new dreams, from regrets to remembrances, and from secrets and lies to truths and dares. The acting and directing are seamless; the characters are wonderful. So, it’s a shame the playwright disappoints us by dancing around the obvious and slapping on a completely unrealistic ending.
Sacramento Theatre Company , 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $18-$36. 1419 H Street, (916) 766-2277. Through April 6. P.R.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change This audience-friendly musical revue features an appealing, energetic cast, including Equity actor Eric Wheeler (last year’s Gunfighter). The show is in a cozy, 115-seat theater, which creates more intimate, un-amplified dynamics than you get with touring, big-venue musicals. The topics include dating, marriage, parenthood, divorce and death. Some of the lyrics (by Joe DiPietro) and music (by Jimmy Roberts) are superficial, but they go down easy and touch on everyday experiences; the off-Broadway production of this show has been running for years.
Delta King Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$22 for the show only or $38-$49 for a meal and the show. Onboard the Delta King, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Extended through April 13. J.H.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse The new, high-standard Children’s Theatre of California skips old-style fairy tales in favor of a present-day suburban story—with a moral, ’natch. It’s all about school, including buddies and bullies, as well as getting along with busy parents and a bratty baby at home. It’s a glossy, fast-paced, 90-minute production with a cast of nine (plus a musician) and sharp production values. The show is geared primarily toward elementary school children, but adults will find aspects to enjoy, as well. The show is a superior choice to family movies.
B Street Theatre , 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $15 for kids and $20 for adults. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Extended through April 13. J.H.
Major Barbara This society gal turned society savior is steadfast in her resolve to save mankind; her morals are upright and solid. But when this religious dynamo faces her cannon-making father, who wants to donate funds from what Barbara sees as ill-gotten gains, her inner moral war wages. Playwright and socialist George Bernard Shaw explores many gray areas in this 1906 comedy/ drama, making the audience question moralistic rhetoric from all sides about religion, war, economics, social standings and poverty. The real surprise is how funny Major Barbara is, with a wry look at society, family fortunes, economics, fate, love and honor. Director Christine Nicholson lends a gentle guiding hand, never letting scenes plod along. The play will leave you laughing, thinking and talking.
Art Court Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $10-$12. Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard. (916) 558-2228. Through April 5. P.R.
Under Milk Wood Dylan Thomas’ 1953 radio play Under Milk Wood is basically a Welsh Lake Wobegon, with a narrator introducing us to the gossip and eccentric seaside villagers of Llareggub. The Milk Wood Players present an impressive production that gives honor to Thomas’ intent that words should be felt as well as heard. The strength of the writing is in the details and descriptions. And the strength of this production lies with both the talented actors and their imaginative director, who all clearly love and respect the work. This is for lovers of language and lyricism, though it can be quite dense at times and hard to follow.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $14-$18. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Extended through April 11. P.R.
You Can’t Take It With You In these gloomy times, the best antidote may be fast-paced, frolicking fun. So, put aside all the serious stuff and surround yourself with the old-fashioned silliness of the Sycamore family. In this story, based in 1937, each family member is an odder duck than the next. Normal daughter Alice fears introducing her fiancé and his old-fogey family to her strange but endearing relatives. You can imagine the frazzled frenzy that ensues when the two families get together—one loosey goosey, the other tighter than a bug’s butt. The enthusiastic and zany Foothill Theatre Company cast carries the comedy through rather broad comedic moments. Subtlety is in short supply, but big moments and messages aren’t the goal here; fun is. And the cast delivers.
Nevada Theatre ; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$21. 401 Broad Street, (530) 265-8587. Through April 13. P.R.