Shel Silverstein Uncensored

Adapted from An Adult Evening With Shel Silverstein, 11 sketches and songs by the late poet/folksinger and longtime cartoonist for Playboy, this is an insightful and pointed look at the darkness in the human psyche — though it’s also a throwback to the satire of decades past. Five appealing actors hit just the right notes of whimsy and farce, under Dan Bonnell’s direction. Daniel Zacapa has wonderfully piercing concern for his flighty wife (Sarah Brooke) and her growing proclivities toward kleptomania. Her latest escapade was to sit at an uncleaned restaurant table and deposit an unfinished bowl of oatmeal into her bag. Beneath their bickering over linguistic distinctions — whether or not she is a “bag lady” or is becoming one — is a sketch of a marriage that’s unraveling for reasons neither has a grip on. The fraying relationship is timeless, while the “bag lady” reference is older than the picture frame she grabbed from the garbage and also stuffed into her bag. “Best Daddy” is a Monty Python–like skit in which the cruelest father in the world (Tony Pasqualini) gives his daughter (squeaky voiced Colleen Kane) a pony for her birthday, or says he does. She sees the pony dead and covered by a sheet. He shot it after it bit him. Just kidding. It’s not really a pony, but what is it? And so the sketch probes into ever darker caves. Martha Gehman tortures her husband through a game of “Life Boat” — goading him to throw one of the family members overboard during an imagined typhoon. It’s a hideous exercise that reduces hubby James MacDonald to a beautifully performed quivering blob. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: June 7. Continues through Aug. 10, 2008