The Legend of Noon The level of execution in this show, though sincere, is rudimentary. But it’s a rare opportunity to see two works written by Japanese absurdist Minoru Betsuyaku. Legend is a Beckett-like riff on an everyday Japanese conundrum—the tension between saying and doing what’s polite and expected and the inward desire to express what you really feel. The twist is that the story’s set in the miserable aftermath of World War II, with wounded soldiers singing an imperial anthem as the comedy of manners plays out. The other play, The Cherry in Bloom, is a dark portrait of a dysfunctional family in a rigid society. If you’ve got a taste for the absurd, this is quite a valuable (if barebones) production. But casual, impatient viewers may have trouble locating the appeal.
InterACT , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 4010 El Camino Avenue, (916) 452-6174. Through June 1. J.H.
The Nerd Willium Cubbert’s life has stalled. Enter Rick Steadman, a Vietnam vet who saved Willium’s life on the battlefield but hasn’t been heard from since. Rick’s problem? He’s a nerd, a social misfit, a fashion don’t, an over-insistent irritant. Willium’s problem? He wants to get rid of Rick but made a battlefield vow to be there when Rick needed him, so he’s stuck. Though the play suffers from implausible plot lines and misplaced sentiments, it does give us goofy guffaws, funny setups and a strange yet endearing portrayal of a nerd who’s nebbish but never malicious.
Delta King Theatre , 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$18. 1000 Front Street, (916) 995-5464, Through June 14. P.R.
Nuts Is Claudia Faith Draper certifiably nuts? Certifiably is the key word. Claudia, a good-girl-gone-murderer, wants to forgo the insanity plea, be declared sane, stand trial and be acquitted. But under a New York law, she could be held indefinitely in a mental hospital against her wishes. This three-act play from SacActors.com is meant to examine a legal and mental system run amok and a society that deems women the weaker, wackier link. But what this courtroom drama lacks is drama. Part of the problem is the passé plot. However, it’s also an undercooked production that leaves a lot lacking. Many lines were stumbled over, forgotten or recited by rote, causing action to stop, pacing to stall and suspense to suspend.
Geery Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, $12.50-$14.50. 2130 L Street, (916) 451-4152. Through June 15. P.R.
The Queen of Bingo Sisterhood really is powerful, and it’s pretty funny, too, in this winning little comedy. But the two middle-aged women in this show are anything but self-empowered—they’re playing bingo in a church hall, relating tales of junk-food excess and getting giddy when they get a winning card. Sue Madden and Trish DeBaun bring energy and insight to what easily could have been less-dimensional characters.
California Stage , 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, with an extra performance 7 p.m. Thursday, May 29; $10. 1723 25th Street, (916) 451-2455. Through May 31. J.H.
Rounding Third Baseball is the metaphor, but clashing attitudes about work, fatherhood and marriage are the real topics of this new comedy by Richard Dresser, whose plays have proven popular at the B Street in the past. Two dads are coaching a boys team. One’s a blue-collar beer drinker determined to win at any cost, the other’s a stressed-out office worker who barely knows the rules of the game; he just wants to enjoy time with his son. There’s very little suspense in the storyline, but the interplay between actors George Gerdes and Kurt Johnson keeps things interesting. Because of locker-room dialogue and talk of infidelity, children under 12 are not admitted.
B Street Theatre ; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $15.50-$21.50. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through June 29. J.H.
The Time of Your Life Director Ed Claudio dusts off this California classic by William Saroyan, which won the Pulitzer in 1939. It’s a meandering tale set amid the chaos of a downscale bar on the San Francisco waterfront. The huge cast features a mix of professional actors (Claudio as “Kit Carson” and Anthony D’Juan as a wannabe comedian, among others) along with community actors. As a result, some scenes have more zing than others. But it’s a treat to experience this charming old script, which has been neglected in recent years, and this production successfully taps into the playwright’s mix of working-class attitudes, optimism and sentimentality.
Actors Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through June 15. J.H.