Everybody’s favorite nanny flew into the Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday.“Mary Poppins,” the Broadway musical based on P.L. Travers’ classic children’s book and the 1964 Disney film it inspired, is making its first Bay Area appearance, bringing the umbrella-toting British icon to life in a vibrant, kid-friendly production. Read More
“Black Watch” has been taking audiences by storm ever since its 2006 debut at Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival.
Based on interviews with Scottish soldiers returning from the war in Iraq, the National Theatre of Scotland’s high-octane multimedia production combines movement, music, video and dialogue to create an urgent, often harrowing theater piece told from the soldiers’ point of view. Read More
Exciting, fast-paced, kinetic — these aren’t words usually associated with “Pericles, Prince of Tyre.” With its convoluted plot, multiple locales and huge cast of characters, Shakespeare’s sprawling late-life romance can add up to a very long night.
That’s what makes the new Berkeley Repertory Theatre production a welcome surprise. Director Mark Wing-Davey delivers a buoyant, ingeniously theatrical staging — one that almost triumphs over the play’s flaws, but not quite. Read More
For a woman who’s just written a book about the human digestive system, Mary Roach is surprisingly cheerful.
The acclaimed Bay Area science writer seems perfectly happy to wade into subjects that would make most of us say “ick.”
In her new book, “Gulp: Adventures Along the Alimentary Canal,” Roach delves deeply into how we eat — and what happens after.
Informative and often hilariously funny, the book combines history, weird facts and up-to-the-minute interviews with physicians, researchers and other experts about events no one discusses in polite company. Read More
“So – what do you see yourself doing in five years?”
It’s a standard job interview question. But for Army veteran Dean Trusk, the central character in George F. Walker’s “Dead Metaphor,” the answer is anything but typical.
Trained as a sniper, Dean was valuable in America’s most recent war. Now, after two tours of duty, he’s been home for five months, and his particular skill set only makes prospective employers nervous. Read More
Bird-watching isn’t the only tie that binds the six women of “Our Practical Heaven,” now in its world premiere at Aurora Theatre. Sibling rivalry, aging and loss also fuel Anthony Clarvoe’s gentle multigenerational drama. And then there’s the family’s crumbling seaside home, which may soon be swallowed by the rising tides of climate change.
Clarvoe, whose “Pick Up Ax” was a Bay Area hit, combines family themes with environmental concerns in this play, the third new work premiered in Aurora’s Global Age Project. Read More
Laughter fills the Marin Theatre Company as Vladimir and Estragon, the down-on-their-luck tramps of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” take their places once again to await the theater world’s best-known no-show.
If “Godot” is the last play you would expect to be funny, revisiting it is definitely in order. Sixty years after its Paris premiere, audiences still approach this existential masterpiece with trepidation. Read More
Bradley Boatwright is in big trouble. The title character of “Troublemaker” has more on his mind than any 12-year-old kid in working-class Rhode Island should have to face.
In Dan LeFranc’s rollicking comedy, now making its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Bradley doesn’t really make trouble. He just attracts it.
He’s being bullied by the town rich kid, Jake Miller (a sneering Robbie Tann). Adding insult to injury, Jake’s dad (Thomas Jay Ryan) is courting Bradley’s single mom (Jennifer Regan) — and recommending that Bradley be shipped off to reform school. Read More
Like most musicians, Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally spend a lot of time on the road. Their partnership has taken them from concerts at the Kennedy Center to appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and The City’s own Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.
This month, though, the duo is spending Christmas down home. Read More
The legend of “The White Snake” lives.
The ancient Chinese fable about a serpent who assumes a woman’s shape gets a mesmerizing theatrical update in the new Berkeley Repertory Theatre production written and directed by Mary Zimmerman.
In her seventh show for the company, Zimmerman emphasizes the magical, shape-shifting qualities of this timeless story of enduring love. Read More
Thornton Wilder’s plays are a beguiling mix of everyday Americana and surreal time-bending — not just in classics such as “Our Town,” but in the short works that make up the Aurora Theatre’s “Wilder Times.”
Barbara Oliver directs four one-act plays by Wilder in this often-engaging, but ultimately uneven, production spanning the great playwright’s career, from “The Long Christmas Dinner” and “The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden,” both written in the 1930s, to “Infancy” and “Childhood,” written in 1962. Read More
The tragedy of “Elektra” echoes through the American Conservatory Theater this month, as Sophocles’ bloody tale of vengeance in the aftermath of the Trojan War once again casts its mesmerizing spell.
This is Greek tragedy with a difference. Presented in a newly commissioned translation by British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, acted by a vibrant ensemble cast and running a taut 90 minutes (without intermission), the production speaks to contemporary audiences while retaining the play’s timeless appeal. Read More
It’s not unusual for monologists to open with the line “Thank you for being here.” In “Acid Test: The Many Incarnations of Ram Dass,” Warren David Keith starts off by saying “Thank you for being here ... now.”
It’s an apt introduction to Lynne Kaufman’s humorous, gently affecting one-man show about the former Richard Alpert, who dropped acid with Timothy Leary, changed his name to Ram Dass and wrote the 1971 book “Be Here Now.” Read More
The stage doesn’t fill with a cast of thousands.
“An Iliad,” the mesmerizing theater piece that opened Wednesday at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, manages to create the sights and sounds, the epic sweep and tragic immediacy of the Trojan War in the performance of a single actor.
In this brisk, often harrowing 100-minute play by director Lisa Peterson and actor Denis O’Hare, based on Homer’s poem (translated by Robert Fagles), the clash is seen through the eyes of a battle-weary Poet (the great Henry Woronicz) charged with telling an oft-told tale. Read More
It’s a landmark season for San Francisco Playhouse, and the company launched it in raucous style Saturday with a new home and a new production of the irreverent rock musical, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
The Michael Friedman-Alex Timbers hit about the seventh U.S. president proved to be an inspired choice to inaugurate the company’s 10th anniversary season — the first in its new, 200-seat digs at 450 Post St., formerly known as Theater on the Square. Read More