Macbeth, Berkeley

“Bubble bubble, toil and trouble” and for what? An evening of “sound and fury,” signifying, if not nothing, precious little. Expectation ran high for Berkeley Rep’s visually stunning, starry production of Shakespeare’s Scottish play. Helmed by the great American  ...

Champion: An Opera in Jazz, SF

“Champion” packs a punch. If Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s opera is not a complete knockout, it may be due to a flabby libretto by Michael Cristofer with words that don’t live up to the power of the highly-listenable score.  ...

Aubergine, Berkeley

Can a bowl of soup really save a life? Probably not, but it makes for some interesting speculation in Julia Cho’s “Aubergine,” a play about love and death, estrangement and reconciliation, immigration and assimilation and, most of all, food, developed  ...

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  ...