If you're a devoted reader of this column (isn't everybody?), last week, in this very section, you got the 411 on how to entertain out-of-town relatives on the day after Christmas by heading to the O.C. to see Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi. Well, in case those freeloaders are still camped out in your den after getting wasted during the family New Year's Eve bash, pile them in the car and toodle back out to the O.C. again, this time to see the West Coast premiere of Stuffed and Unstrung, a live and uncensored improv show starring puppets. But this is no Punch & Judy show. It's sick. It's twisted. It's goofy. The show's subject matter relies on audience suggestions, yet it incorporates all the artistry that puppetry commands, thanks to the fine- and large-motor skills of Jim Henson Company puppeteers. You won't need your up-close specs because the action is projected live onto two screens flanking the stage you won't miss a provocative second. It's probably best to leave the little ones at home with PlayStation.
Wed., Dec. 29, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 31, 7 & 10 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 1, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 2, 4 p.m., 2010