The Beggars’ Strike Director Buck Busfield charts a somewhat different course for the Children’s Theatre of California. This story’s set in Africa, it features beggars, and it’s longer and a bit more abstract than previous productions. The music, dancing and costumes give the show plenty of appeal for kids (and parents), while the somewhat philosophical “giving to receive” theme comes through quite nicely—even for the younger kids. It’s also nice to see a sympathetic depiction of Islam onstage. The good, largely black cast features a combination of local and out-of-town talent.
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 March 13. J.H.
Jack and Jill Delta King Theatre deftly delivers what it’s best known for: an accessible play that examines relationships, most notably the yin and yang of men and women. This time we’re watching Jack and Jill’s relationship going up the hill and back down a couple of times. Director Peter Mohrmann keeps a tight rein on the quick scenes, sharp repartees, clever staging and smart performances by the two leads. However, even with solid performances, neither actor can make these unsympathetic characters likable. Jack and Jill’s drama becomes wearisome. By the end, you really don’t care if their relationship lasts.
Delta King Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$22. 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Though March 6. P.R.
Kimberly Akimbo Kimberly counts her birthdays in dog years because she’s afflicted with a rare disorder that causes her to age prematurely. Although she’s just 16, she looks like a senior citizen and has reached her life expectancy. At times, this coming-of-age tale teeters on sitcom silliness, with unsympathetic characters, unrealistic scenarios and crass language. What saves it is the ultimate goodness of its central character. Senior actress Cec Levinson does a wonderful job of embodying adolescent awkwardness while copping the petulant teen ’tude. When the plot and characters don’t gel, you always have the cutting, clever humor—which rescues many a scene.
B Street Theatre; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$25. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through February 27. P.R.
Pageant The Studio Theatre pays homage to cheesy, tacky beauty pageants. Watch “giddy girls” compete to be Miss Glamouresse in this over-the-top pageant complete with bathing-suit, evening-gown and talent competitions. The twist is that all the contestants are men portraying women, which makes it fun. The cast embraces the concept with endless enthusiasm and energy. However, the musical never really lives up to its potential, with mild, safe and silly humor.
Studio Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $16-$21. 1028 R Street, (916) 446-2668. Extended through February 27. P.R.
Tartuffe This snappy, heads-up production takes Molière’s classic 17th-century comedy of manipulation and innuendo, and gives it a smart, “new century” spin. The title role is a great vehicle for actor Matt K. Miller, who slides hilariously from pious posturing into behind-the-scenes plotting and sexy misbehavior. Ed Claudio, back at Sacramento Theatre Company for the first time in ages, revels in his part as the angry husband, while Saffron Henke struts and pouts as the worldly, wise maid. Director Gina Kaufmann proves a skillful, savvy ringmaster. It’s the funniest show to grace the theater’s main stage in years.
Sacramento Theatre Company; 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$36. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722. Through February 20. J.H.
The Vagina Monologues 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 talented 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 Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12.50-$14.50. 2130 L Street, (916) 451-4152. Extended through February 27. P.R.
The Waiting Room This River Stage production looks at the lengths to which women will go to attain society’s idea of beauty. Three women from history—an 18th-century Chinese woman crippled by bound feet, a 19th-century woman with internal organs crushed by a corset, and a modern woman with breast implants—meet in a doctor’s waiting room. It’s a fascinating, disturbing, thought-provoking and humorous look at modern medicine. It’s weighed down by too many issues and would be better if it were more focused, but in the end, you can’t help but be affected by the stories.
River Stage; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $13-$15. Cosumnes River College, 8410 Center Parkway, (916) 691-7364. Through March 6. P.R.