Carhops in Bondage This retro-campy combo of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (with contemporary pop references) and Happy Days (with blatant sexual references) is a lot of giggles, a bunch of guffaws and a handful of belly laughs. The Lambda Players’ 15th anniversary re-staging of Russ Dunn’s original play has updated some jokes and kept all the sophomoric sexual wit. The Queen of Outer Space (played by the dazzlingly draggy Raelynn Saunders), her performing androids and a baby-blue Wookie wannabe are in search of the perfect fuel, which they find at Earth’s S&M Burger Palace. The roller-skating carhops offer complications galore and wackiness ensues, wrapped in delightful parodies of classic ’50s do-wop hits.
Lambda Players Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $15-$16.50. 2427 17th Street; (916) 444-8829 or www.lambdaplayers.com. Through February 3. K.M.
The Importance of Being Earnest The beautifully authentic Woodland Opera House, which dates back to 1896, is a marvelous setting for this period revival of the 1895 comedy by Oscar Wilde. Savvy old director Jack Lynn uses live sound effects and omits canned music, while Laurie Everly-Klassen’s costumes bring in humorously overstated Victorian excess. The delightfully “old school” acting puts the emphasis on Wilde’s witty dialogue, which is exactly where it belongs.
Woodland Opera House, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on February 3; $10-$15. 340 Second Street in Woodland; (530) 666-9617; www.wohtheatre.org. Through February 11. J.H.
Le Médicin Malgré Lui This short medical farce is performed entirely in French. Then, after intermission, the troupe presents the same play in English with the same sets and actors, and even the same affectations and expressions. You may not understand the dialogue, but you’ll get the basic idea from the exaggerated gestures and facial expressions. Come armed with patience and read the story synopsis in the program if you aren’t bilingual. The payoff is viewing the English version after intermission to see how close you got, and to enjoy the English repartee and clever lines. Everyone shines in this production and earns applaudissements spéciaux.
California Stage, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$20. 1723 25th Street; (916) 451-5822, www.calstage.org. Through February 11. P.R.
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 a 2 p.m. matinee February 4; $12-$15. The Space, 2509 R Street; (916) 456-1600, www.beyond-pro.org. Through February 4. J.H.
Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act This one-hour, one-act play by South African playwright Athol Fugard explores the pain, heartache and dehumanization caused by a law that tries to dictate love between two consenting adults. It takes place in 1970s South Africa under apartheid, where the Immorality Act makes sexual relations between “coloreds” and whites illegal. The play is short but intensely powerful. Rob Anthony delivers a sharp, memorable performance as the “colored” school principal involved in a relationship with a white librarian. Linda Taylor, in a lesser role, brings a delicate, realistic portrayal of a fearful lover who uses her library floor for the hidden rendezvous.
Celebration Arts, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $8-$15. 4469 D Street; (916) 455-2787; www.celebrationarts.net. Through February 24. P.R.
Tea Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra does one big show a year, and it’s always an event. This handsome production of Velina Hasu Houston’s signature drama Tea features a much smaller acting company (five women) than some of CATS recent blockbusters. Nonetheless, it’s a gripping story about Japanese war brides living (and in one case dying) near an obscure Kansas military base during the 1960s. Director Sandra Rockman and her largely Chinese-American cast have taken care to give this production a sincerely Japanese feel. The story of these women’s challenging transition to American society has broad cross-cultural appeal.
Nevada Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$25. 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, (530) 273-6362, www.catsweb.org. Through February 10. J.H.
The Vagina Monologues SacActors.com revives its long-running show. Reviewing it in 2005, Patti Roberts wrote, “This play with the gutsy title takes a taboo subject matter—a basic body part of every woman—and makes it acceptable to talk about. For this production by SacActors.com, three actresses trade off monologues in front of deep-red velvet panels. The performances examine not only the word, but also the body part, and all the shame, power, fear and beauty that vagina owners carry with them. The play is great fodder for after-show conversations.”
Geery Theater; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $14.50-$17.50. 2130 L Street, (916) 451-4152. Extended through March 31. P.R.
What the Butler Saw Joe Orton’s dark comedy dates from 1969, when lots of people were humming the Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” The blurred gender identities in that song are ever-present in this play, which takes the formula of the British sex farce and uses it to create a sharp-edged (and very funny) portrait of polite English society. Spouses argue and deceive each other. A marginally sane government official casually certifies as insane any unfortunates who get in his way. A bellhop uses compromising pictures to blackmail a hotel guest. Basically, everyone’s on the make. Director Jerry Montoya and a well-chosen cast keep the onstage chaos cooking.
B Street Theatre, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $25-$30. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org. Through February 25. J.H.