Bedroom Farce Three beds; four couples; and lots of pajamas, bathrobes and slamming doors. But it’s not that kind of farce: There’s no butler, no mistaken identity and no overlapping secret trysts. Playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn is mostly making observations about the joys and absurdities of life in wedlock, with subplots involving everyday problems like an aching back, a leaky roof and home improvement. The cast’s British accents tend to wander, but Jes Gonzales is delightful as the fellow on the lookout for wet plaster overhead. Giggles are triggered frequently in this City Theatre production, though the laughter doesn’t entirely carry you away.
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 October 26. J.H.
The Drawer Boy This sly look at what constitutes a story and what makes a story important begins as a fish-out-of-water tale, when an aspiring actor seeks out “real” farmers he can observe for playwriting inspiration and finds no-nonsense Morgan and his partner, Angus. Because of a wartime head injury, Angus lives only in the present, with Morgan supplying him with his past through repeated stories. Just when this play looks like it’s going down the goofy path of wacky actor, quirky farmer and misunderstood simpleton, it takes an interesting turn. Miles overhears a story not meant for his ears, “borrows” it for his play without permission and opens up secrets long buried.
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 2 p.m. Sunday; $17.50-$21.50. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through November 2. P.R.
Endgame This staging of the great Samuel Beckett’s “other” dark, absurdist classic—the one that isn’t Waiting for Godot—fares well in this spare, effective staging by the Actor’s Theatre. Ed Claudio gives a marvelous performance, alternately whimsical and tyrannical, as the perpetually seated Hamm. Son Michael Claudio is good as the reluctantly obedient Clov, who can’t sit down. The other two characters (played by Beth Edwards and Mark Heckman) reside in ash cans at the back of the stage, offering nostalgic color commentary. Beckett’s script is a great, weird, vaguely futuristic, hugely funny and sad, compelling effort—one that’s seldom produced locally. Enjoy this opportunity; we don’t often get to see a show with this many brain cells.
Actor’s Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through October 26. J.H.
Murder at Howard Johnson’s There are a couple murders afoot in Rancho Cordova, dastardly deeds plotted at the local Howard Johnson. For the next two weeks, Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre is reproducing a HoJo as the setting for a crime scene, and the theater company has recruited a talented trio to portray clumsy wannabe killers in the farce. This over-the-top comedy is about three self-centered dopes trying to dupe each another in a love triangle gone loopy. It’s simple fare, but it’s done well, with much physical comedy, silliness and funny lines. The energy drops off in the third act, but there are still enough laughs to make the trip worthwhile.
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (dinner seating at 6 p.m.) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (brunch seating at 1 p.m.); $29-$34 for the show and a meal or $20 for the show only. 12401 Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, (916) 985-6361. Through October 5. P.R.
Under Milk Wood This is a revival of a well-received Thistle Dew production that opened last February, drawing on 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 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 and 2 p.m. matinees Sunday, with reservations required; $12-$18. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Through October 5. P.R.
Wrong Turn at Lungfish The first half of this comedy has the quick banter and quirky characters of an old-fashioned television sitcom. But the second half turns schizophrenic with darker undertones and serious confrontations. Sometimes, it works; other times, it’s a stretch. But what makes this story, about a bombshell from the Bronx bringing books to a dying blind man, work is the cast, especially Chandra Ashton as Anita the Fran Drescher-sounding mangler of the English language.
Chautauqua Playhouse, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $12. 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael, (916) 489-7529. Through October 4. P.R.