AAH! Abandon Productions’ physical-theater troupe wrestles with the evolution of human interaction, casting a critical and sometimes comical look at the progress we’ve made as a society. Through its unique blend of dance, movement, a cappella singing, acting and miming, the group continues to captivate. All action occurs within two A-frame construction scaffoldings where performers loop, leap, slither and snake through the piping. Even when the concepts haven’t quite gelled, the performers’ sheer joy and enthusiasm have you rooting for them. The miracle is witnessing an experimental theater production that lacks pretension and cynicism. The show lasts one hour.
The Space, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10-$13. 2509 R Street, (916) 737-2304. Through November 15. P.R.
Arcadia Tom Stoppard’s superlative play about poetry, gravity, history, chaos theory, algebra and infidelity is finally (finally!) getting a long-overdue Equity-level production in Sacramento. The story ping-pongs between the early 1800s and the present day. Stoppard’s verbal fireworks provide the greatest thrill for those who pay close attention. It’s very intellectual, occasionally naughty and, frequently, extremely funny.
Sacramento Theatre Company; 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with an additional show at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 1; $13-$33. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722. Through November 2. J.H.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) This three-man show is the first production in Thistle Dew’s second venue, a “white-box” performance space also used as a wedding hall. The performers have lots of energy and spread plenty of smiles (and several belly laughs) as they take down the Bard, using an updated version of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s oft-produced script. The technical aspects of the production are modest. Dessert and coffee are included in the ticket price.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre II; 8 p.m. October 31 and November 2, 14, 16, 28 and 30; $14-$18. Reservations required. 5324 Riverside Boulevard, (916) 444-8209. 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; 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.
Emmalehua There’s a lot going on in Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s ambitious script: hula dancing, a rivalry between sisters, a visitation from the spirit of their departed mother, and even a love triangle. There are also plenty of socio-historical observations from native Hawaiians and American Indians about land-grabbing, white American businessmen taking over everything in sight. Alas, this well-intended production by Interactive Asian Contemporary Theatre (featuring a mix of experienced community performers and rookies) is uneven in terms of execution. It only connects intermittently with the multitude of ideas swimming through the playwright’s head.
Broadway Playhouse; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 4010 El Camino Avenue, (916) 452-6174. Through November 23. J.H.
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. Extended through November 9. J.H.
Misery Misery’s “No. 1 Fan” Annie Wilkes is one of the most memorable characters ever created by horror writer Stephen King. Now she haunts the Delta King in a theatrical adaptation of King’s literary thriller. Annie lives in an isolated farmhouse, obsessing about the Misery romance series. By a twist of fate, the series’ author skids off the road in a snowstorm and is rescued by Annie. He’s in bad shape, and though he feels lucky Annie found him, it slowly dawns on him that his nurse is one wacky woman. From the first time we hear her famous “cockadoody,” the cast has us in its suspenseful grip.
Delta King Theatre; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $14-$16. 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Through November 9. P.R.
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 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.