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 pipings. 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.
All My Sons This 1947 play was Arthur Miller’s first big breakthrough. Though unfamiliar to many viewers nowadays, it’s well worth knowing. The story concerns a factory owner who knowingly sold defective airplane-engine parts to the military during World War II, resulting in the death of more than 20 airmen. The knowledge of what he did gradually destroys two families in this moral, tragic drama. Director Lee Elliot takes quite a while to rev this small community production up to speed, but once it’s on a roll, its power and inevitability lead to a climax that jolts the audience. It’s worth the price of admission just to see John Walck as Joe (the factory owner).
Chautauqua Playhouse, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $11-$12. La Sierra Community Center, 5325 Engle Drive in Carmichael, (916) 489-7529. Through November 22. 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. November 14, 16, 28, and 30; $14-$18. Reservations required. 5324 Riverside Boulevard, (916) 444-8209. J.H.
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 Native Americans 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, 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, $10-$12. 4469 D Street, (916) 455-2787. Through November 8. J.H.
Veronica’s Room This scary story, written by Ira Levin (author of Rosemary’s Baby), involves an innocent victim, a suspicious setting and a surprise ending. The play’s first half could use some smoothing out; the cast is a little too campy to pull the audience into the story effectively. However, by play’s end, the four actors finally gel to create a suspenseful conclusion that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$16. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Through November 9. P.R.