Below the Belt Local actors Shane Galloway, Miles Miniaci and Stephen Vargo are delicious in this dark, witty comedy of paranoia and corporate bureaucracy, set in a mysterious, isolated industrial complex on the edge of a desert in some Third World locale. (It’s a tale reminiscent of the late, great science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick.) The theater is cramped, sets and costumes are modest, but the integration of cast and script are captivating in this Front Row Center production.
California Stage, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; plus 7 p.m. on August 19 and 26. 1717 25th St., $10-$12. 451-5822. Through September 8. J.H.
The Chairman’s Wife Chairman Mao’s widow remembers her pre-revolutionary past, her previous romantic involvements and her marriage to the Great Helmsman in this memory play set in a Chinese prison. This small, rough-hewn community-based production by Interactive Asian Contemporary Theater has several weak components, but Lou Paman gives a convincing performance as a tough old lady who makes no apologies. (Paman alternates in the title role with Nela Reyes.)
Broadway Playhouse , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, $10-$12. 4010 El Camino Ave., 489-6880. Through August 19. J.H.
Resident Alien A light-hearted summer entertainment about a space alien busboy (with a penchant for junk food) who indulges in an earthly joy ride in rural Wisconsin. Good performances from the cast, smart direction from Sheldon Deckelbaum of UC Davis, and a handful of heartfelt quotes from serious works keep the otherwise tipsy script on an even keel.
Nevada Theatre , 7 p.m. Thursday, 8:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, matinees 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $5-$21, 410 Broad St., Nevada City. (888) 730-8587 or (530) 265-8587. Through August 19. J.H.
Six Women With Brain Death This very campy revue is Sacramento’s longest-running show, coming up on its fifth anniversary in October. It’s a series of skits and songs about midlife women with “expiring minds,” dealing with soap operas, high-school reunions, grocery shopping and getting away from the kids. While the show clearly tickles the funnybone of its core audience (females over 40), our critic found the appeal elusive and the humor generic. But then, he’s a middle-aged guy.
Studio Theatre , 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday, 1028 R St. $14-$18. 446-2668. Open-ended run. J.H.
Whodunnit Directed by Rodger McDonald, Whodunnit is a satiric comedy that pokes fun at the classical murder mysteries. While the production runs into less-than-adequate lighting choices, technical pluses of the production lie in Eileen Beaver’s well-made costuming choices and an eye-pleasing set design. The script also includes a slightly homophobic subplot that, unfortunately, is not played off well into the campiness of the production. Overall, though, Whodunnit is a delightful light comedy full of campy dialogue and characters as well as surprises and laughter that should provide an evening of fun for mystery lovers. Garbeau’s Dinner Theater, 6 p.m. dinner shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and an 11 a.m. brunch Sunday, $27-$32, 12401 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova. 985-6361. Through September 2. M.B.C.