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
TWELVE BAR BLUES Comedy sketches set in a bar, by Jay Huling. Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 22. (818) 206-4000, www.ravenplayhouse.com.
THE UNDERPANTS Steve Martin’s comedy, adapted from a play by Carl Sternheim, about dudes trying to get into a German housewife’s panties. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru April 19, (No perfs March 9, 23 & 30.). (626) 256-3809.
THE WORLD GOES ‘ROUND Kander and Ebb revue, conceived by David Thompson. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village; Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 16. (818) 508-3003, www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
THE WORLD’S LARGEST RODENT The title of Don Zolidis’ comedy refers to a kind of guinea-pig colossus found in South America — the subject of a junior high school PowerPoint presentation that lands nerdy Billy (Andy Gobienko) in trouble from the start. PowerPoint title slides also introduce us to various low points of Billy’s existence, including a porn-model sister (Kim McKean), and a mother (Mary Carrig) whose failed suicide attempt has left her comatose. “Zany” is writ large. Mere desires don’t translate into a plot, however. The ensemble, under Tom Ormeny’s direction, has fun with the material. (SM). Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru April 13. (818) 841-5421.
GO ALICE SIT-BY-THE-FIRE J.M. Barrie’s 1919 comedy is a far more earthbound affair than his earlier success, Peter Pan, yet it still provides a sweet concoction of precocious observations, misinterpreted dialogue and send-ups of contemporary melodrama. Director Joe Olivieri delivers a production that is neither taxidermied relic nor overly precious giggle-fit, and gets a fine comic performance from Wigell. Barrie’s play floats through its three acts — a harmless bubble that perhaps stirred the ribald histrionics of Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw and many another later farce. (SM). Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru April 20. (310) 822-8392.
GO THE BRIG Kenneth H. Brown’s play depicts a U.S. Marine Corps jail in Japan, the setting for his 1963 play, first performed by New York’s Living Theatre. For nearly two hours we watch the robotic routines of 10 prisoners (later joined by an 11th) as they are loudly ordered about by a crew of sometimes sadistic, mostly bored guards. This production, directed by original cast member Tom Lillard, is a remount of a 2007 Obie-winning effort. While virtually interchangeable, the prisoner ensemble of 11 actors performs frighteningly well, at turns morphing into a giant green caterpillar of movement. (SM). Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., April 6, 2 p.m.; Sun., April 13, 7 p.m.; thru April 13. (310) 477-2055.
CARNAGE, A COMEDY Playwrights Tim Robbins and Adam Simon’s ferocious satire on the hypocrisy of American televangelism crackles with philosophical awareness and imaginative stagecraft. Yet, even in director Beth F. Milles’ tightly paced production, the play hasn’t aged well since its 1987 premiere. To raise money, corpulent televangelist Cotton Slocum (V. J. Foster) commences a marathon “holy” walk through the desert. The piece’s scattershot storyline is part heavy-handed tirade against religion and part symbolically overburdened surrealism, despite the cast’s perfect comic timing. (PB). Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 29. (310) 838-4264.
THE CATHOLIC GIRL’S GUIDE TO LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY Annie Hendy’s comedy about a 24-year-old intent on losing her virginity before her next birthday., www.catholicgirlsguide.com. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 15. (310) 491-5961.
GO THE CAVALIER JEW Writer-performer Jon Ross is Jewish and highly observant, but that doesn’t make him an observant Jew. Though he has tremendous affection for the joys of Yiddish, he has an inborn distrust of all organized religion. Instead, he celebrates Catskill comedians, derived from Yiddish tummlers. Much of his spiel is centered on the tale of his brother Ricky, and how a heroin addiction put the kibosh on Ricky’s successful business career. As compensation, Ricky embraced Orthodox Judaism, trying, as Ross suggests, to “out-Jew Dad.” Ross is a very funny man, yet a more thoughtful storyteller than standup. (NW)., BrownPaperTickets.com. Fanatic Salon Theater, 3815 Sawtelle Blvd., Mar Vista; Sun., 8 p.m.; thru March 16. (800) 838-3006.
CHILDREN OF A LESSER GODDESS Dorothy Spirus’ solo comedy. Found Theater, 599 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 29. (562) 433-3363.
EDGE Poet Sylvia Plath (Angelica Torn) starts writer-director Paul Alexander’s one-woman play at the brink of suicide, before walking us through the 30 years that led up to that moment. Torn seldom changes tone, except at Plath’s visit to her father’s grave, when the performance moves from bravado to bravura. (SM). Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 16. (310) 477-2055.
THE EULOGY Brynn Thayer stands before her father’s flag-draped coffin. Skilled at sports, seduction, and securities fraud, he had a big personality that sucked so much air from the room that her unhinged eulogy sounds like the first chance she ever had to speak. And she’s reveling in it, pointing out her dear old dad’s mistress Candy and the best fried/enemy she blames for his four year incarceration. It’s hard to tell how much of Thayer’s sharp-tonged and playful monologue is truth; biographical facts (like their respective careers in the soap opera and military industries) match up, but the slender and pert Thayer succeeds more in sketching the bold strokes of a father-daughter portrait than filling in the details that would give it depth. When her meltdown passes through venom to acceptance, the effect is unaffecting cutesiness, and the hints that his indulgences might have been inherited aren’t fully explored. Michael Learned’s direction is crisply comedic. (AN). Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., 8 p.m.; thru March 15.