By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
THE OUTSKIRTS OF PARADISE The parameters of playwright Jamie Virostko’s tale of family dysfunction will at first seem quite familiar — a family get-together over a holiday weekend gradually turns into a veritable No Exit of backbiting, recriminations and burnt dinner entrées. Virostko’s dialogue is heartfelt and poignant, hanging in limbo on a formless plot. Director Adam Legg’s laggardly paced production adds inappropriate weight and listlessness at times. Still, by the end of the show, we’ve started to feel we’ve been with wonderfully familiar people whom we actually know. Alliance Theater at THE MET, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept 15. (323) 223-6564. (PB)
PROOF David Auburn’s drama about a mathematician’s daughter. ACTORS CIRCLE THEATRE, 7313 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 8. (323) 882-8043 or www.actorscircle.net.
RESTING IN PIECES Sam Bobrick’s wacky funeral comedy. THEATRE 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Suite D, Hlywd.; perfs Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 4. (323) 960-7827.
RUMORS OF OUR DEATH See New Reviews.
SIGHT UNSEEN Donald Margulies’ portrait of an artist. ART/WORKS THEATRE, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Sept. 1. (323) 960-4418.
SPOOK NIGHT A dramedy featuring a behind-the-scenes look at modern black stand-up comedy through the eyes of legendary minstrel performer Bert Williams. LILLIAN THEATRE, 1076 Lillian Way, Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (323) 960-4443 or www.plays411.com/spooknight.
THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T SAY PAST MIDNIGHT Peter Ackerman’s “comedy in three beds.” LYRIC-HYPERION THEATER, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; perfs Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 27. (323) 906-2500.
THE TOMORROW SHOWLate-night variety show created by Craig Anton, Ron Lynch and Brendon Small. STEVE ALLEN THEATER AT THE CENTER FOR INQUIRY–WEST, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., mid.; indef. (323) 960-7785.
GO ZANNA DON’T There’s something strange about a gay-friendly musical in which the characters are homosexuals at the beginning, but magically turn straight by the end. Is this lurking gay self-hatred, or perhaps a cross-over strategy? Writer-composer Tim Acito (with additional material by Alexander Dinelaris) has created a clever, fast-moving show that relies more on charm than logic. Director Nick DeGruccio shepherds a young cast through a crowd-pleasing romp. Musical direction, choreography and technical credits are all top-notch. West Coast Ensemble at the LYRIC-HYPERION THEATRE, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m.; indef. (323) 906-2500. (NW)
ALICE IN WONDERLAND THRU THE LOOKING GLASS Lewis Carroll’s dream with songs (by Christopher Reiner), is re-imagined by Alice’s great-granddaughter (Jessica Amal Rice). “Dream your own dreams,” Alice’s Sister (Jana Wimer) counsels the kid before Alice takes a nap, and we’re off. The 70-minute production’s arch and unmodulated presentational style becomes something of a shriek fest, The piece nonetheless flies to dystopia on the cleverness and the whimsy of co-directors Denise Devin and Zombie Joe’s adaptation, in conjunction with their blazingly theatrical impulses. ZOMBIE JOE’S UNDERGROUND, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Sept. 8. (818) 202-4120. (SLM)
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE Joseph Kesselring’s comedy about lethal spinsters. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (818) 700-4878 or www.lcgrt.com.
THE BENCH Ten new short plays by the Actors Workout Studio’s Writers Workshop. ACTORS WORKOUT STUDIO, 4735 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 2. (818) 506-3903.
GO CESAR & RUBEN Most of Ed Begley’s spirited musical tribute to labor activist Cesar Chavez (Danny Bolero) and L.A. Times labor reporter Ruben Salazar (Mauricio Mendoza) essays Chavez’s story. In Act 2, we learn of Salazar’s tragic shooting by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy at a 1970 Vietnam War protest. For the sake of balance and the underlying reasons that these two men meet, more needs to be dramatized about the Latino journalist. Under Begley’s smart direction, Bolero and Mendoza are rock solid, and the lives of their characters unfold with compelling interest. NOHO ARTS CENTER, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 8 p.m.; thru. Sept. 9. (818) 508-7101. (LE3)
CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC CHILD Elizabeth Appell’s comic drama about an elderly woman’s plan for suicide. Virtual Theatre Project at DEAF WEST THEATRE, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (323) 663-0112.
GO ECCENTRIC Ernest Hemmings’ gruesomely funny play is a cynicism-fest about promiscuity and marital frustration. The Winkermans (James Thomas Gilbert and Rachel Sorsa Khoury) are a caustic pair — highly sexual and bitterly acidic with each other. The solution to their woes, they believe, is to bring in another woman to spice things up. David L. Stewart’s smart, focused direction captures the play’s every nasty moment, resulting in a hilarious evening that makes one feel a bit dirty for having enjoyed it. RIPRAP STUDIO THEATRE, 5755 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 29. (818) 990-7498. (TP)