The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) This demolition derby through the entire Shakespeare canon is a sort of “supergroup” affair, featuring three of the region’s best comic actors: Gary Alan Wright of Foothill Theatre Company, Matt K. Miller of Sacramento Theatre Company and Greg Alexander of B Street Theatre. Together, they take down Hamlet (forward and backward), turn the gory tragedy Titus Andronicus into a ghoulish TV cooking show, summarize Othello as a rhyming rap number and knock off all the comedies in a single frantic scene. There’s a lot of dubious humor and earthy innuendo, numerous bad wigs and kooky swordfights, and several deliberately awful death scenes. Each episode is scripted, but some jokes are improvised, and part of the enjoyment comes from watching these three capable funnymen work off each other’s onstage energy.
Foothill Theatre Company; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $24-$26. Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, (530) 265-8587 or (888) 730-8587, www.foothilltheatre.org. Through August 13. Also July 31 and August 7 and 14 at the
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; $22-$67, or $14 for those age 15 and under. Sand Harbor State Park, three miles south of Incline Village in Nevada; (800) 74-SHOWS; www.laketahoeshakespeare.com. J.H.
The Last Five Years The B Street Theatre’s summer offering is a “micro-musical”—a chamber piece in a 100-seat venue involving two professional actors and a cute four-piece band (piano, violin, cello and bass) and no mics. It’s a different kind of experience than a big Music Circus show. You’re closer to the performers, but you don’t get the elaborate choreography with a dozen dancers in eye-popping costumes. But The Last Five Years is still a musical, which is to say that it’s dominated by a love story, told with an interesting conceit. She starts with the breakup and works back to the beginning, while he tells the tale in linear fashion from start to finish. They get married in the middle. Performers Jessica Rush and Eric Anderson display personality and charm, and writer Jason Robert Brown delivers clever lyrics and catchy melodies (which won Drama Desk Awards following the show’s New York run).
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 1 p.m. Wednesday matinees through August 30; $23-$28. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through September 10. J.H.
Pump Boys and Dinettes This amiable revue features four car mechanics (singing about catchin’ catfish) and two sexy waitresses from the cafe next door (pourin’ coffee, bakin’ pies and hopin’ for good tips). There’s a lot of flirtation, but there are only flickers of a story. The cast (especially Andrea Eve Thorpe and Michelle Hillen) put zip into several of the up-tempo songs, which are a feel-good crazy quilt of borrowed country, rockabilly, blues and gospel styles. It’s very soft-focus and sentimental: The mechanics never get greasy, and disappointments are soon forgotten. But the point here is escapist fun, which is what the show delivers, in a friendly, small-scale, hokey way.
Studio Theatre, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $22-$24. 1028 R Street, (916) 446-2668, www.thestudiotheatre.net. Through October 8. J.H.
Romeo and Juliet If teenagers Romeo and Juliet were hanging out nowadays, they’d be text-messaging instead of balcony bantering. The couple’s young age may explain this production’s odd decision to portray the two as bumbling geeks in Shakespeare’s most revered romantic tragedy. Without any sexual sizzle, they come across as “best friends forever” instead of star-crossed lovers, a shame since both are talented actors. What works are the fight scenes, where the energy bursts forth from this cast, and the choice of Brett Williams as Mercutio. Williams brings needed physicality and sexual force into his scenes. With his bravado and charm, you can feel the danger that propels the play toward its tragic end.
Sacramento Shakespeare Festival; gates open at 6:30 p.m., with showtime at 8 p.m. on July 28 and August 3 and 5; $10-$15, or free for children 6 to 12. William A. Carroll Amphitheatre at William Land Park, (916) 558-2228, www.sacramentoshakespeare.net. P.R.
Stones in His Pockets A frustrated Hollywood movie crew is looking for authenticity in a remote Irish town, but the hired extras’ Irish jigs aren’t jiggy enough, and the local brogues are too brogue-y. These locals just aren’t “lucky charming.” In this fast-paced witty play, two actors portray a dozen characters of various ages, genders and nationalities. Jonathan Rhys Williams and Timothy Orr display seamless teamwork, not only in their overlapping dialogue and split-second character morphing, but also in their speedy physical interactions. The first half is played for laughs, showcasing the absurdities of the situation. When tragedy strikes, the second half reveals bitterness toward the town’s exploitation.
Capital Stage; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $46-$51 for dinner and the show and $20-$24 for the show only. On the Delta King, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464, www.capitalstagecompany.com. Through August 27. P.R.
Two Gentlemen of Verona Set in the Roaring ’20s, this comedic romp is the perfect light dessert for the traditional Sacramento Shakespeare Festival pre-play picnic in William Land Park—sweet, funny and easy to digest. Written early in the Bard’s career, the plots and characters aren’t fully developed, but this production is filled with fun. Love propels; madcap mayhem ensues. The convoluted plot stretches believability, but the cast makes the confusion accessible and entertaining. And the play’s sidekicks really make this loopy lovers’ tale an appealing production.
Sacramento Shakespeare Festival; gates open at 6:30 p.m., with showtime at 8 p.m. on July 27 and 30, and August 4 and 6; $10-$15, or free for children 6 to 12. William A. Carroll Amphitheatre at William Land Park, (916) 558-2228, www.sacramentoshakespeare.net. P.R.
Wishing Well Wishing Well opens on a stormy night in Bald Head Island, N.C., as Callie Quayle explains she’s been called to her childhood home, along with her younger sister, by their mother—who holds a 19-year-old secret. Not to be outdone, the sisters have planned to unveil their own lies and omissions. Seamless acting by the entire cast allows the audience to fully enjoy the laughs with a complete suspension of disbelief. B Street’s production values are top-notch, and author Jon Klein’s use of the family’s wishing well—with its own special rules—to oust the truth is compelling.
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 1 p.m. Sunday, with 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees through August 30; $23-$28. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org. Through September 10. M.C.