I doubt that anyone has ever thought that Steven Cragg was Mark Twain, but it provides him with a useful gimmick to galvanize his one-man show. He appears costumed and bewigged in a deliberately seedy simulacrum of the outfit worn by Hal Holbrook in his Mark Twain solo show. Cragg's disclaimer, he says, is to prevent lawsuits by Holbrook, the Mark Twain Society or anyone else who might want to sue. His show is a pugnacious, funny, anarchic attack on political correctness wherever it crops up. (He confides that he hates Betty White, among others.) The somewhat rump-sprung plot concerns his attempt to reconnect — and have sex — with an ex-girlfriend. He's in Los Angeles and she's in a neighboring state, but to throw his wife off the scent he chooses to go there via New York City, Vermont, Canada and the Midwest, so his tale turns into a zany picaresque. He had the audience in the palm of his hand from the get-go, and he has a talent for finding comedy in almost anything: The fact that he's playing on a raked stage leads to a protracted riff, complete with pratfalls. But be warned: Sit in the front row and you may find yourself under verbal assault. Rogue Machine at Theater/Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; through Aug. 29. (855) 585-5185, roguemachinetheatre.com. (Neal Weaver)
Wednesdays, Thursdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Aug. 8. Continues through Aug. 29, 2013
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