The Big Bang Two actors not only portray everyone from Adam and Eve to Napoleon and Josephine in this 23-song musical, but they also use everyday items for costumes—grabbing curtains, vases and pillows for personal props. Everyone is skewered, no race or religion is spared, the double entendres fly, and the jokes are both naughty and groan-producing. It’s not for the thin-skinned, but it is for audiences looking for madcap mayhem and zany antics in their summer entertainment.
B Street Theatre; 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday (with a 1 p.m. Wednesday matinee on August 17); $22-$28. B2 Stage, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through September 4. P.R.
The Comedy of Errors Oft staged at summer festivals, Comedy always features two sets of twins and a lot of mistaken identity. Directors like to move the setting to different eras, and Carolyn Howarth places this fast-paced, irreverent production in the Wild, Wild West with blazing six-guns, 10-gallon hats and a frustrated wife in a pink Annie Oakley outfit who proves that even cowgirls get the blues. You’ll need a scorecard to keep track of all the pop-culture references and zany add-ons. Shakespeare purists (a dying breed) may offer a few objections but likely will forgive the director because the show is so funny.
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; 8 p.m. August 13, 14, 20 and 21, and 7:30 p.m. August 16 and 18; $14-$67. Sand Harbor State Park, three miles south of Incline Village in Nevada, (800) 74-SHOWS, www.laketahoeshakespeare.com. The show continues as part of the Sierra Shakespeare Festival; 7:30 p.m. August 27 and September 2, 8 and 10, and 4:30 p.m. September 4; $10-$23. Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, (888) 730-8587, www.foothilltheatre.org. J.H.
Gilligan’s Island: The Musical What could be more silly, campy and illogical than that lovable ’60s TV show Gilligan’s Island? Well, little buddy, that would be Black Rabbit Productions’ Gilligan’s Island: The Musical, where seven familiar castaways sing and dance through improbable plots. The musical gives strange life to Gilligan, the skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann, while remaining true to our memories. The cast and crew have their tongues in cheek and affections in check. The audience fully embraces the experience, with many coming in groups, dressed in tropical wear, and giggling at the first sounds of “Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.”
Broadway Playhouse, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$15. 4010 El Camino Boulevard in Carmichael, (916) 607-5494. Through August 21. P.R.
Macbeth Director Lynne Collins helms the greater Sacramento region’s first professional mounting of this dark, intense tragedy in more than a decade. Actor Philip Charles Sneed is the right man for the title role. Sneed takes us through Macbeth’s transformation from a powerful warrior into a monstrously paranoid, ruthless monarch. Watching the transformation is like seeing a house go up in flames. Collins doesn’t overplay the occult aspects, leaving Macbeth’s bloody rise and devastating fall as the central focus. The moonlight lakeside setting, with the actors’ voices echoing off the nearby granite mountainside, is a lovely addition.
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; 8 p.m. August 6, 12 and 19, and 7:30 p.m. August 17; $14-$64. Sand Harbor State Park, three miles south of Incline Village in Nevada, (800) 74-SHOWS, www.laketahoeshakespeare.com. The show continues as part of the Sierra Shakespeare Festival; 7:30 p.m. August 26 and September 1, 3, 9 and 10, and 4:30 p.m. August 28; $10-$23. Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, (888) 730-8587, www.foothilltheatre.org. J.H.
Seascape with Sharks and Dancer This summer’s sleeper is an odd (yet curiously involving), bittersweet love story, featuring Michael Claudio playing a quiet librarian and Alexandra Ralph as the disturbed young woman he pulls out of the sea at 4 a.m. The loving but highly dysfunctional relationship that emerges is unlikely, and a lot of what’s said is calculated for effect. Playwright Don Nigro sets up vivid monologues containing statements that aren’t always what they seem and lets reality seep into the play indirectly. The two actors make this extended duet an absorbing experience, with guidance from co-directors David Pierini of the B Street Theatre and Ed Claudio.
Actor’s Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through August 14. J.H.