Stage Reviews

Dimetos Athol Fugard’s symbolic parable of engineering prowess and human failing, patterned after Greek tragedy, gets a vivid presentation in this small production. Good acting (especially Tim Sapunor and Adrienne Sher), intelligent direction by Maggie Upton, and a neglected but powerful script add up to a strong evening of serious theater. Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee November 18, $13-$17. 1901 P St. 441-8209. Through December 8. J.H.

The Imaginary Invalid Frank Condon’s very funny adaptation of the classic comedy by Molière smoothly moves the action from 17th-century France to New Orleans circa 1912, giving the production a ragtime flavor and a hint of racial subtext. But the playwright’s shrewd observations of human nature are timeless—also quite hilarious. This great script is backed up by handsome sets and costumes, a large cast and solid direction, with an emphasis on physical comedy. It’s the funniest show in town, and a great antidote to the blues in the news. River Stage, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, $8-$14. The Visual and Performing Arts Center at Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Pkwy. Through November 18. J.H.

Ravenscroft Don’t let the setting (an English country house) and the plot (a dead body at the bottom of the stairs) fool you. This whodunit possesses an above-average IQ for a show of its kind, combining clever dialog, numerous plot twists and a hint of haunting—after all, it is that time of year. Good acting from a cast that trained at local universities and the B Street apprentice program. Delta King Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. (on the riverboat in Old Sacramento), 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. Dinner/show packages available; show-only tickets $16-$14. 995-5464. Through Nov. 17.

The Seagull Chekhov’s “comedy” about actors and writers gets a good (if not great) presentation here. Several of the scenes involving the love affairs of writer Trigorin are both hilarious and devastatingly honest, and elsewhere you get that sense of parlor games and polite conversation overlaying deeper, personal issues. The show doesn’t consistently deliver at that high level of attainment, but the better portions—and the rare opportunity to see Chekhov staged locally—make this small production worth the effort to see. Actors Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Blvd. 925-6579. Through December 9. 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.

Wild Indian This show generates some interesting sparks by rubbing four very different characters together. There’s Ishi, apparently the last survivor of Northern California’s Yahi tribe, who comes out of the hills near Oroville in 1911, and Prof. Alfred Kroeber, the prominent anthropologist who turns Ishi into a living exhibit at his museum in San Francisco. Also Kroeber’s assistant—a nascent suffragette—and a Chinese woman. You can hear echoes of the conflict between white settlers and native tribes, while World War I, with its horrific carnage and poison gas attacks, is slowly coming to a boil. This modestly mounted production has a broad perspective and a lot to say. California Stage, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 2509 R St. (by the light rail tracks). 691-7364. Through November 17. J.H.

Wonderful World This new comedy is a work in progress by Richard Dresser—and need we say it’s dark, given that he wrote it? The playwright sets out a simmering stew of suspicious siblings, manipulative behavior and rat-a-tat dialogue—played for laughs, mind you. It’s bright and brittle, oh-so-nasty and frequently quite funny. The production is well cast, including a welcome return by Elisabeth Nunziato, who’s been away from local stages for much too long. B Street Theatre, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday; 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday; matinee 2 p.m. Sunday, $16.50-$20.50. 2711 B St., 443-5300. Through November 18. J.H.