Review: “Uncle Vanya” in San Rafael

I don’t know anyone who attends theatre to reinforce their belief that life is simply a series of travails to be endured until the sweet release of death, but if you’re out there, have I got show for you. Birdbath Theatres is presenting Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in a new adaptation by Jesse Brownstein, directed…

Review: “Hand to God” in Santa Rosa

After twenty-two seasons (and counting) of TV’s South Park and fifteen years of Broadway’s Avenue Q, audiences may be somewhat desensitized to youngsters dropping F-bombs or puppets vigorously engaged in coitus. Prepare to be re-sensitized.    Robert Askins’s Hand to God, running at Santa Rosa’s Left Edge Theatre through November 11, adds blasphemy to the…

Review: “God of Carnage” in Novato

In the past month, North Bay stages have been occupied by vampires, ghosts, a Thing, and Transylvanian transvestites. The Novato Community Playhouse now finds itself overrun with the most ghastly, heinous, and horrifying creatures ever to set foot on a theatrical stage. I am referring, of course, to white upper middle-class parents, the featured monsters…

Review: “Blithe Spirit” in Napa

If you’re wary of attending the latest splatter fest at your local multiplex and seeking a kinder, gentler Halloween season entertainment, Napa’s Lucky Penny Productions brings you Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, running through November 4. It’s an old-fashioned ghost story laden with Coward’s acerbic wit and charm. Author Charles Condomine (Tim Kniffin) is researching the…

Review: “The Great God Pan” in Petaluma

What was he doing, the great god Pan,   Down in the reeds by the river? Spreading ruin and scattering ban… These opening lines from the Elizabeth Barret Browning poem “A Musical Instrument” are spoken midway through Amy Herzog’s The Great God Pan, now running in a gripping production directed by Taylor Korobow at Petaluma’s…

Review: “Oslo” in Mill Valley

At a time when the language of diplomacy has been reduced to a 140-character tweet transmitted at 3 am, it’s good to be reminded of the men and women for whom the quest for peace demanded actual thought and personal interaction. J. T. Rogers’ Oslo, now running in its West Coast premiere at the Marin…