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
MASSAGE ON THE FLIP SIDE: BEATING UP THE NAKED PEOPLE Adventures of a single massage therapist in L.A., by Nancy Daly. LYRIC THEATRE, 520 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 19. (323) 939-9220.
MONNA VANNA See New Reviews.
1940s CHRISTMAS AT CLUB SWEET LORRAINE’S Ongoing story of a downtown neighborhood speakeasy, with holiday music and songs. KSLG PLAYHOUSE THEATER PLAYERS, Brewery Art Complex, 600 Moulton Ave., L.A.; Sat., 6 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (323) 227-5410 or www.kslgplayhousetheatre.com.
NUTCRACKERS Over the Line Productions presents a Christmas sketch-comedy musical. WORKING STAGE THEATER, 1516 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (818) 752-4557 or www.otlcomedy.com.
OUT OF YOUR MIND! Theatergoers sip wine at a tasteful private home until a pushy assistant director (Patrick Censoplano) announces the first of Steven Kane’s two short plays, In the Night of the Bed. The man (Andrew Macbeth) claims to be an extra, only this isn’t a movie, but Molly’s (Kelly Anne Ford) dream, and the rest of the cast are the regrets and pains she revisits every night. Less pat and engaging is Rhinovirus, a chipper sci-fi saga set in a future New New York where pain, suffering and disease have been criminalized. Under Jane Lanier’s direction, the staging is intimate, but the acting is as broad as the Grand Canyon. GuerriLA Theatre at a PRIVATE RESIDENCE, 2806 Nichols Canyon Place, L.A.; schedule varies, call for info; thru Dec. 8. (818) 972-2467. (AN)
PARALLEL LIVES is not a play but an abridged version of Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney’s standup comedy show. The 90-minute production runs hot and cold, and is mostly sustained by the comic talents of Gioia Marchese and Emily Schweitz. The pair garner some laughs as parochial schoolgirls puzzling over the complexities of theology, as adolescents coping with menstruation, and other things female. Act 2 offers more of the same (it even starts with the same angel scenario) except here the pall of tedium makes itself felt and the script runs flat. Elina de Santos directs. The Bridge West at THE COMPLEX, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; thru Dec. 9. (323) 960-7745. (LE3)
GO THE PIANO LESSON August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson is one of his most engaging plays, about the attempts and symbolism of trying to sell a family heirloom – a piano hand-carved with the faces of relatives and African totems. Claude Purdy directs a uniformly strong cast, including Julius Tennon as a preacher and Diarra O. Kilpatrick (substituting for Tammi Mac) as a floozy. Joel Daavid’s production design lends itself to non-intrusive stage business on the well-thought-out set, which is, of course, dominated by the piano. RKA/StageWalker Productions with 444 Productions at THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Dec. 23. (213) 389-9860. (Sandra Ross)
GO POINT BREAK LIVE! Jaime Keeling’s merciless skewering of the 1991 hyper-action flick starring Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey is loaded with laughs as well as surprises, like picking an audience member to play Reeve’s role of Special Agent Johnny Utah. The city’s banks are being hit by a gang of robbers known as the Ex Presidents, surfers who always wear the masks of former chief executives while making their withdrawals. Utah gets his man, but not before a Grand Guignol scene of blood and guts that’s so hideously over the top you can’t stop laughing. Charlie O’s in the ALEXANDRIA HOTEL, 501 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; indef. (866) 811-4111. (LE3)
POLAROID STORIES Street kids wander the urban jungle, in Naomi Iizuka’s adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis. ACTOR’S PLAYPEN, 1514 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Mon., Thurs. & Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 16. (323) 960-4484 or www.plays411.com/polaroidstories.
THE RETRO RADIO CHRISTMAS CAVALCADE It’s Christmas Eve 1944 in war-torn France, by Paul Byrne and Lisa Anne Nicolai. SACRED FOOLS THEATER, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 19 (added perfs Dec. 9 & 16, 2 p.m.). (310) 281-8337.
GO SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! See New Reviews.
SERIAL KILLERS “Five stories. Five cliffhangers. Only three can continue.” SACRED FOOLS THEATRE, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hlywd.; Sat., 11 p.m.; indef. (310) 281-8337 or www.sacredfools.org.
SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR GROUNDLINGS Sketch and improv, directed by Karen Maruyama. GROUNDLING THEATER, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; thru Jan. 26. (323) 934-9700.
SILENT HEROES Six Marine aviator wives await news of which one of their husbands died in a plane crash, by Linda Escalera Baggs. GARDNER STAGES, 1501 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru Dec. 22. (323) 769-5575.
SOCK PUPPET SHOWGIRLS Although its tinsel-and-posterboard aesthetic looks sweet, Harvey Finklestein and Jimmy McDermott’s all-puppet salute to Joe Eszterhas’ camp classic film Showgirls has enough aggressive sex and double D’s sprouting out of wrists to frighten Lambchop, Elmo and Big Bird back to TV. Oddly, however, there are diminishing returns in trying to satirize the movie’s outré sincerity, and each time one sock calls the other a whore, the joke gets less funny. Harvey Finklestein Productions at THEATRE ASYLUM, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., 11 p.m.; thru Dec. 21. (323)962-0046. (AN)