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
CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC CHILD In Elizabeth Appell’s melodrama, 70-something Regina (Sandra Lafferty) lives tormented by recollections of abortion, adultery and a shattered marriage. Her suicidal thoughts are interrupted by ghosts from the past and the fantastical apparition of a pleasure-loving, free-will-spouting Pope (Paul Strolli). Directed by Lauren McCormack, the piece stumbles on Lafferty’s too-deliberate performance but comes vividly to life around Kinberly Atkinson’s vivacious, fun-loving phantom from the past. Virtual Theatre Project at DEAF WEST THEATRE, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 23. (323) 663-0112. (DK)
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)
THE GINGERBREAD LADY Neil Simon’s dramatic comedy about a post-rehab cabaret singer. SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; perfs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru Sept. 22. (626) 256-3809.
INSIDE OUTSee New Reviews.
KING OF THE CITY: An Evening With Al Capone Robert Gallo’s one-man show. LONNY CHAPMAN GROUP REPERTORY THEATRE, 10900 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 22. (818) 700-4878 or www.lcgrt.com.
GO LUCY & THE WOLF When needy Lucy (Tara Hunnewell) returns home after work, she cuts through a dark alley and comes upon Johnny Wolfe (Scott Conte), preparing to blow his brains out. The chemistry between them is intense, and suddenly they’re having violently satisfying sex. He’s apparently a hit man, but Lucy marries him anyway. Act 2 reveals how the first act was merely a performance, and the two characters are actors appearing in a small not-for-profit theater. The play, written and directed by Stefan Marks, is strange and intriguing; Hunnewell and Conte are terrific. TWO ROADS THEATRE, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 23 & 30, 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (888) 210-3649. (NW)
MATTER OF HONOR Michael J. Chepiga’s story of an African-American West Point cadet. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru Sept. 30. (626) 356-PLAY or www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
THE SPOT Danny LeGare’s coming-of-age dramedy set in a bar. THE BANSHEE (FORMERLY THE GENE BUA THEATRE), 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 22. (818) 761-6551.
THE TENDER TRAP Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith’s revival of a classic Broadway show. STAGE DOOR THEATRE, 28311 Agoura Rd., Agoura Hills; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.; thru Sept. 15. (818) 889-5209.
GO TITUS ANDRONICUS If you thought today’s slasher movies were gruesome, check out this rarely performed early Shakespeare classic, generally regarded as historically fascinating literary crap. Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s sturdy direction comes with requisite dark humor applied to this loud, long gore fest relocated from ancient Rome to 1930s Italy under the fascists. While the spray-on gray in 20-something Charles Pasternak’s hair does not convince one of Titus’ maturity, the stentorian tone of his line deliveries does. Porters of Hell’s Gate at the WHITMORE-LINDLEY THEATER CENTER, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; thru Sept. 9. (310) 497-2884. (MH)
GO GULLIVER’S TRAVELS Joshua Zeller’s bawdy, scatological adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s political satire rockets by, yet loses none of its Augustan bite. Lemuel Gulliver (the likable Keythe Farley) is the ship surgeon who voyages to four “remote nations of the world,” finding, along the way, increasingly unflattering reflections of contemporary human behavior. Zeller’s telling of the classic only rarely strains to draw direct parallels with the 21st century, but by evening’s end, we don’t feel some sense of a larger story. P. Adam Walsh directs the enthusiastic ensemble. Actors’ Gang at the IVY SUBSTATION THEATER, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Oct. 27. (310) 838-4264. (SM)
GO THE HASTY HEART In John Patrick’s sentimental play, produced on Broadway in 1945, director Michael Rothhaar’s offers such a restrained yet detailed staging, the three acts move swiftly. In a British army hospital in Burma during World War II, Yank (Keith Stevenson), Digger (Nathan Mobley), Kiwi (Michael Balsley) and Tommy (Ron E. Dickinson) cheerfully endure tropical heat and slow recoveries until the arrival of Lachy (the excellent Scott Jackson), a laconic, grumpy Scot. Only hard hearts will be able to resist the playwright’s belief in the redemptive power of friendship. PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATER, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (310) 822-8392. (David Mermelstein)
KILLER JOE Acclaimed playwright Tracy Letts touches audiences . . . inappropriately, with a voyeuristic journey that pushes the limits of decency and comedy. GARAGE THEATRE, 251 E. Seventh St., Long Beach; perfs Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Sept. 8. (866) 811-4111 or www.garagetheatre.org.