MedEia Director Nick Avdienko’s challenging new take on the Greek classic features stylized physical movement woven with fragmentary, repeated phrases, including many lyrics out of pop songs. There’s video and voiceover in the mix—hence the extra “E” in the title. And there are two Medeas. The young one marries Jason, gets dumped and proceeds with her chilling revenge. The older, dressed in white, looks on and remembers. This complex, layered production is quite interesting, though Dutch playwright Oscar van Woensel’s over-reliance on borrowed lyrics gradually gets on one’s nerves. In addition to directing, Avdienko composed the music, much of which is quite effective. Bring a blanket because this venue is chilly.
Beyond the Proscenium Productions; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees on January 28 and February 4; $12-$15. The Space, 2509 R Street; (916) 456-1600; www.beyond-pro.org. Through February 3. J.H.
Merry Wives of Windsor Falstaff—the gluttonous, graying, scoundrel of a knight—often is considered Shakespeare’s most durable comic creation. City Theatre gives us the man in this friendly, lighthearted, antic production, updating the setting to comfy, semi-rural Windsor, Calif., circa 1950. Luther Hanson is the wheedling Falstaff in a loud Hawaiian shirt, periodically breathless from his efforts at seduction. The merry wives (Laura Kaya, Christine Nicholson) are onto his game. The supporting characters are broadly done, like Quickly (Kim McCann, with a hip flask) and the French physician (Brian Rivera, with a funny accent). Director LoriAnn DeLappe-Grondin adds Keystone Kops-style physicality. The language isn’t always clear, and the production isn’t as slick as an Equity show at a big summer festival, but there are still plenty of laughs in the sturdy local mounting of this evergreen.
City Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-15. Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard; (916) 558-2228; www.citytheatre.net. Through January 28. J.H.