Nutcracker, SF Ballet

It’s the holidays. It’s “The Nutcracker.” So what else is new? Actually, quite a lot, depending on whose eyes you are looking through. In a long career of reviewing, this critic has seen more “Nutcrackers” than you can shake  ...

Emma, Silicon Valley

Adorable Emma. Impossible Emma. Self-absorbed and totally “Clueless” (anybody remember Alicia Silverstone's breakout movie?) Emma. Jane Austen’s irrepressible heroine, who gets her kicks from meddling in other people’s lives while not having a notion about her own, has been captivating  ...

Disgraced, Berkeley Rep

Who are you? I mean, really? Are you who you want to be, pretend to be or who your mother told you you ought to be? This, I think, is the question at the heart of Ayad Akhtar’s searing “Disgraced,”  ...

The Submarine Show, Berkeley

Bring your grandma, bring your kids! The occasional touch of blue or potty humor either will delight them or go right over their heads. So will performers Slater Penney and Jaron Hollander as they fly, climb or crawl through the  ...

Lucia di Lammermoor, SF Opera

Sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad, and San Francisco Opera’s new production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” has plenty of both. First the good news: the singing is pretty terrific and that’s what opera is  ...

King Lear, Cal Shakes

Someone with nothing better to do once counted how many times the word “nothing” appears in Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Having better things to do I have forgotten the total but it was a lot. All stemming from the protagonist’s early  ...

Sweeney Todd, SF Opera

I must confess I have always preferred my horror on an intimate scale. That means a television set rather than a multiplex and, most particularly, Stephen Sondheim’s macabre masterwork, “Sweeney Todd,” as a chamber opera, rather than a Broadway musical.  ...

Amélie, Berkeley Rep

Once upon a time there was a little girl with a great big imagination. Her parents were unloving and aloof and her only friend, Fluffy the Goldfish, was dumped unceremoniously into the Seine. Very much alone, Amélie turned inward to  ...