Stage Reviews

Click for Legend A Devil Inside This dark, satiric comedy involves multiple severed feet, a son trying to avenge his father’s murder, laundromats and Russian literature. There are so many bizarre, overlapping coincidences and freakish story turns that if you stacked them up, they’d be taller than a high-rise building. Director Gabriel Montoya puts a surprising amount of razzle-dazzle into this low-budget production, which features good performances by young actors Galen Howard, Stephanie Altholz and Michael Claudio, among others.
Actor’s Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through December 14. J.H.

Click for Legend AHH! 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. Extended through December 13. P.R.

Click for Legend All My Sons This 1947 play was Arthur Miller’s first big breakthrough. 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.
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.

Click for Legend The Canterville Ghost This show, designed for children ages 7 and older, is based on a short story by Oscar Wilde. The production leans toward cinematic values more than literary ones and feels a bit like a Warner Bros. comedy. The story involves a clash of cultures between a practical American inventor and a 300-year-old British ghost who just don’t see the universe the same way. Kids will enjoy the 90-minute production, but grown-ups may find their attention wandering. The situation comedy wears thin before the show wraps up, but there’s a good performance by Stephanie McVay (as the maid), among others.
Children’s Theatre of California; 7 p.m. Friday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $15-$20. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through December 2. J.H.

Click for Legend 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.
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.

Click for Legend Ithaka Calling This debut play by 23-year-old playwright P. Joshua Laskey traces young Kate through a dramatic evening in which she must confront her marriage, her past, her future and an old boyfriend. Laskey brings up some interesting issues. He also hits the pitfalls of many first-time playwrights: two-dimensional characters, too many issues and dialogue that merely sets up important statements and speeches. But we applaud the fact Laskey actually has written and produced a full-length play and has demonstrated he has the chutzpah and perseverance to see it to stage.
Geery Theater, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $12. 2130 L Street, (916) 225-2277. Through December 7. P.R.

Click for Legend Mother Hicks Set in rural, southern Illinois during the Great Depression, this drama contrasts suspicious, small-minded townsfolk against Mother Hicks—the solitary, self-sufficient healer they regard as a witch. This small-scale production has some problems with awkward scene transitions, but the intriguing exchanges between wise, secretive Mother Hicks (Lynne Perry) and the wild-child orphan called Girl (13-year-old Alexyss Valdez) carry the play.
California Stage; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with no performances Thanksgiving weekend; $12-$14. 2509 R Street, (916) 451-5822. Through December 2. J.H.

Click for Legend Woody Guthrie’s American Song City Theatre revives last year’s well-received production of this ensemble revue, which incorporates Woody Guthrie’s classic songs about the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, labor organizing and American life in general.
Art Court Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $7-$12. Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 558-2228. Through December 14. J.H.