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.
Conquest of the South Pole This play about four frustrated, unemployed men is not an easy journey. It’s piled high with artistic quirks that make it a challenge for audiences to easily embrace, but it’s a fascinating premise: Young men, tired of their dead-end lives, re-create the adventures of South Pole explorer Roald Amundsen. While hanging laundry on rooftops, they take turns reading the passages and acting out the adventure. The execution is difficult, with staccato scenes and translated dialogue written in rhythmic and rhyming prose. However, there’s no question it’s a fascinating journey.
River Stage, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $13-$15. Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway, (916) 691-7364. Through October 26. PR.
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.
Just the Guy Jack Gallagher’s one man show, which has had several engagements at the B Street, moves over to Garbeau’s. Gallagher contrasts his Irish-American working-class youth with his close encounter in Lotus Land with prime-time TV stardom. The show is peppered with jokes (reflecting Gallagher’s past as stand-up comic) that deal with two very different work ethics. It’s also a cautionary tale about the Hollywood meat grinder, and how Gallagher managed to survive with his better sense intact.
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (dinner seating at 6 p.m.) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (lunch seating at 1 p.m.). No show on Thursday, October 16. $29-$34. (916) 985-6361. 12401 Folsom Boulevard, Rancho Cordova. Through October 19. J.H.
Over the River and Through the Woods Sometimes a well-tuned acting team can turn a mediocre play into an enjoyable evening’s entertainment. That’s exactly what Foothill Theatre Company’s cast does for this clichéd comedy about a man’s embarrassment over his loud, immigrant grandparents. Nick, a young marketing executive, spends every Sunday with his two sets of Italian grandparents. He is spoiled by never-ending fussing and mounds of food, while enduring endless peppering from the old folks. Since so much of this is rote playwriting, it’s up to the Foothill acting troupe to add some spice, which they do with talent and charisma.
Nevada Theatre, 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$21. 401 Broad St., Nevada City, (530) 265-8587. Through October 26. P.R.
References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot This small, local production of a recent script by noted Latino playwright José Rivera is a welcome development. The play starts out as hallucinatory “magic realism,” with talking animals and a wise, world-weary Moon (played by Antonio Tito Juárez, with his marvelously elastic face). But it’s the more realistic core of the play—a drawn out argument between the decidedly sensual, increasingly free-thinking military wife Gabriella (Regina Cabral, in a very strong performance) and her four-square soldier husband Benito—that stays with you. Rivera’s language is rich and his use of symbolism is potent. The show has several awkward moments, but at the bottom line, it’s well worth seeing. It may represent the beginning of a local Latino theater group, something the area surely needs.
California Stage, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 2509 R Street, (916) 451-5822. Through October 26. J.H.
Steal Away This African-American comedy, set in Chicago in the 1930s, finds five ladies of the church turning into latter-day Robin Hoods, as they decide to rob a bank for money to put a deserving young black woman through college. It’s a worthy comedic concept, but the show takes its time getting to the laughs. The robbery itself is a hoot, when the time comes.
Celebration Arts Theatre, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-$12. 4469 D Street, (916) 455-2787. Through November 8. J.H.