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; $22-$28. B2 Stage, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Extended through September 11. 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, 7:30 p.m. August 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.
Crumbs from the Table of Joy This beautifully written memory play describes a transplanted African-American family in New York around 1950. A recent widower has left the Deep South (and his own wild ways) behind and has started over in a new and quite religious life. And he’s brought his teenage daughters with him. But his late wife’s sister turns up—and she’s a leftist, prototype feminist who isn’t averse to jazz and drinking. When conflict inevitably arises, the widower gets into a surprise marriage and further unsettles the household. The play is staged with low-key charm. Actress Chenelle Doutherd shines as the widower’s shy elder daughter, who is torn between her rural past and urban present. She tells us what really happened to this very interesting family, as well as the way she wishes things had turned out.
Celebration Arts; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $13-$15. 4469 D Street, (916) 455-2787. Through August 27. 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, in which 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 19, $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.
Party The Lambda Players conclude their “Hot Summer Nights” series with a comedy. The poster art features seven naked guys, suggesting The Full Monty. The difference is that, at this Party, all the guys are gay. They play a game that’s a cross between truth or dare and strip poker, leading to personal confessions and outrageous lies concerning sex. There are suggestive hints, lots of shucked-off garments, and a discussion of musical theater (on the side). During the opening weekend, the actors were still fine-tuning their comic delivery and timing, blunting a few jokes. But there’s an appealing array of characters, and it’s a fun, frothy show. It’s a bit naughty but ultimately leads to a sweet ending.
Lambda Players Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. on August 21, and 8 p.m. on August 25 and September 1; $13-$15; ages 18 and over only. 2427 17th Street, (916) 444-8229. Through September 3. J.H.