Jean Schiffman

Jeunée Simon, left, and Lauren Hayes appear in the premiere of “Roan @ The Gates” in Berkeley. (Courtesy J. Norrena)

‘Roan @ The Gates’ looks at whistleblower’s dilemma

Yet drama’s missing in Central Works’ production of Christina Gorman play

Jeunée Simon, left, and Lauren Hayes appear in the premiere of “Roan @ The Gates” in Berkeley. (Courtesy J. Norrena)
From left, Margo Hall, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie and Lily Tung Crystal appear in California Shakespeare Theater’s “The Good Person of Szechwan.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

Brechtian morality tale goes down well at Cal Shakes

Comic talent abounds in ‘Good Person of Szechwan’

From left, Margo Hall, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie and Lily Tung Crystal appear in California Shakespeare Theater’s “The Good Person of Szechwan.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
San Francisco Playhouse’s “Cabaret” boasts bawdy Kit Kat Club dancers; John Paul Gonzalez as the Master of Ceremonies is at center. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)

SF Playhouse’s ‘Cabaret’ dazzling and timely

Nationalistic numbers reflect today’s America

San Francisco Playhouse’s “Cabaret” boasts bawdy Kit Kat Club dancers; John Paul Gonzalez as the Master of Ceremonies is at center. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
From left, Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, Michael Gene Sullivan, Brian Rivera and Andre Amarotico appear in San Francisco Mime Troupe’s “Treasure Island.” (Courtesy Mike Melnyk)

SF Mime Troupe takes witty trip to Treasure Island

Environmental issues abound in fun political comedy

From left, Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, Michael Gene Sullivan, Brian Rivera and Andre Amarotico appear in San Francisco Mime Troupe’s “Treasure Island.” (Courtesy Mike Melnyk)
Ogie Zulueta and Carla Pauli appear in Alter Theater’s premiere of “Circular” by Laura Shamas. (Courtesy David Allen)

‘Circular’ confusingly mixes myth, modern-day issues

Worthy themes in Alter Theater premiere don’t register

Ogie Zulueta and Carla Pauli appear in Alter Theater’s premiere of “Circular” by Laura Shamas. (Courtesy David Allen)
From left, Avanthika Srinivasan, Johnny Moreno and Jeff Kim are excellent in San Francisco Playhouse’s premiere of “The Fit.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
From left, Avanthika Srinivasan, Johnny Moreno and Jeff Kim are excellent in San Francisco Playhouse’s premiere of “The Fit.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
From left, John Fisher, Jake Soss and Gabriel A. Ross appear in Theatre Rhinoceros’ “Action Hero.” (Courtesy David Wilson)

‘Action Hero’ could use more action

Actors stranded in Theatre Rhino’s idea-packed comedy

From left, John Fisher, Jake Soss and Gabriel A. Ross appear in Theatre Rhinoceros’ “Action Hero.” (Courtesy David Wilson)
The ensemble in Cutting Ball Theater’s production of Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano” is terrific. (Courtesy photo)

Cutting Ball Theater reprises ‘Bald Soprano’ with hilarity

Actors shine in Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist classic

The ensemble in Cutting Ball Theater’s production of Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano” is terrific. (Courtesy photo)
From left, Jomar Tagatac, Danny Scheie, David Breitbarth, Rona Figueroa and Teddy Spencer appear in American Conservatory Theater’s “Rhinoceros.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

ACT’s ‘Rhinoceros’ lively and timely

Ionesco’s absurdist classic relevant in 21st century

From left, Jomar Tagatac, Danny Scheie, David Breitbarth, Rona Figueroa and Teddy Spencer appear in American Conservatory Theater’s “Rhinoceros.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
Spitfire Company, a group from the Czech Republic, brings its absurdist “Antiwords,” involving a crate of beer — to Southside Theater on May 30, June 1 and June 2.                                Courtesy photo

International artists take over Fort Mason

Theater, dance, music, spoken-word performers explore ‘path to democracy’

Spitfire Company, a group from the Czech Republic, brings its absurdist “Antiwords,” involving a crate of beer — to Southside Theater on May 30, June 1 and June 2.                                Courtesy photo
Stephanie Prentice, left, and Elena Wright appear in “A History of Freaks,” part of the 23rd annual PlayGround Festival of New Works at Potrero Stage. (Courtesy Mellophoto.com)
Stephanie Prentice, left, and Elena Wright appear in “A History of Freaks,” part of the 23rd annual PlayGround Festival of New Works at Potrero Stage. (Courtesy Mellophoto.com)
Lorri Holt plays a fictionalized version of the famed poet in”Who Killed Sylvia Plath?” at The Marsh. (Courtesy David Allen)

‘Who Killed Sylvia Plath?’ tells poignant story

Lorri Holt is excellent as late ‘Bell Jar’ poet

Lorri Holt plays a fictionalized version of the famed poet in”Who Killed Sylvia Plath?” at The Marsh. (Courtesy David Allen)
Wera von Wulfen and Geoffrey Malveaux appear in the premiere of “Supremacy” at the Exit Theatre. (Courtesy Jay Yamada)

Realism and superheroes don’t jibe in ‘Supremacy’

Playwright Jason Mendez tackles too much in Exit Theatre premiere

Wera von Wulfen and Geoffrey Malveaux appear in the premiere of “Supremacy” at the Exit Theatre. (Courtesy Jay Yamada)
From left, Jensen Power, Evan Sokol, Dave Sikula, Emily Stone, Brittany Sims, Gabriel Montoya and Linda Ayres-Frederick appear in “Life Sucks,” an adaptation of “Uncle Vanya.” (Courtesy Jay Yamada)

‘Life Sucks’ amusingly updates ‘Uncle Vanya’

Custom Made takes playful approach with Aaron Posner’s adaptation

From left, Jensen Power, Evan Sokol, Dave Sikula, Emily Stone, Brittany Sims, Gabriel Montoya and Linda Ayres-Frederick appear in “Life Sucks,” an adaptation of “Uncle Vanya.” (Courtesy Jay Yamada)
From left, Ruibo Qian, Kyle Cameron, Hayley Lovgren and Nicole-Azalee Danielle are terrific in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Significant Other.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)

‘Significant Other’ a funny, tender look at love and friendship

San Francisco Playhouse production gets the details just right

From left, Ruibo Qian, Kyle Cameron, Hayley Lovgren and Nicole-Azalee Danielle are terrific in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Significant Other.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Annette O’Toole is excellent as a scholar in “The Good Book” onstage at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. (Courtesy Alessandra Mello/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)
Annette O’Toole is excellent as a scholar in “The Good Book” onstage at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. (Courtesy Alessandra Mello/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)
Kate Hamill’s ‘Vanity Fair’ resonates in 21st century

Kate Hamill’s ‘Vanity Fair’ resonates in 21st century

ACT’s adaptation of Victorian novel is over the top yet amusing

Kate Hamill’s ‘Vanity Fair’ resonates in 21st century
From left, Hunter Scott MacNair, Ava Roy and Chris Steele appear in We Players’ “Undiscovered Country.” (Courtesy Lauren Matley)

‘Undiscovered Country’ a Shakespeare-Wild West mashup

We Players’ period piece is evocative, unexpected

From left, Hunter Scott MacNair, Ava Roy and Chris Steele appear in We Players’ “Undiscovered Country.” (Courtesy Lauren Matley)
Hershey Felder portrays Claude Debussy in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s premiere of “Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story” in Mountain View. (Courtesy Christopher Ash)

Hershey Felder charms as Debussy in ‘A Paris Love Story’

Another great musical show from the performer, pianist, playwright

Hershey Felder portrays Claude Debussy in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s premiere of “Hershey Felder: A Paris Love Story” in Mountain View. (Courtesy Christopher Ash)
Steven Anthony Jones and Nancy Moricette appear in Magic Theatre’s “In Old Age.” (Courtesy Jennifer Reiley/Magic Theatre)

Mystical connection emerges in Magic Theatre’s ‘In Old Age’

“What sort of man are you?” The aged Abasiama asks that question,…

Steven Anthony Jones and Nancy Moricette appear in Magic Theatre’s “In Old Age.” (Courtesy Jennifer Reiley/Magic Theatre)