Sweeney Todd This macabre storyline is cutting-edge! A barber unjustly accused of a crime returns to Victorian London many years later to exact revenge on all who did him wrong. His landlady, Mrs. Lovett, wants meat for her pies, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone but the unlucky victims. This is a mature musical for Runaway Stage, which usually stages family-friendly favorites. The material is darker, and the cast is more experienced, resulting in an entertaining gothic thriller tinged with perverse ghoulish humor.
Runaway Stage; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$17. 24th Street Theatre, 2791 24th Street, (916) 207-1226, www.runawaystage.com. Through January 29. P.R.
Written on the Hill A nurse comes to help a famous, reclusive writer recover from a bad back—except this “nurse” has no training and burbles about how he adores his patient’s writing. Trouble’s brewing, and as it turns out, both men have hidden agendas. Playwright/director Matthew Burlingame creates effective scenes in which literary shop talk, sexual attraction and calculated betrayal all simmer together. Actors Shaun Baker and Juan Flores bring this treacherous relationship to life. Baker also has a show-stopping monologue about a hostage incident. The comic interruptions by the kooky Teutonic housekeeper (Renee Gromecki) ultimately wear thin, and the ending could use a bit more work, but there’s some good material in this original play.
Lambda Players Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with special shows on January 22 at 2 p.m. and February 2 at 8 p.m.; $10-$15. 2427 17th Street, (916) 444-8229, www.lambdaplayers.com. Through February 4. J.H.