The out-loud laughter during North Coast Repertory Theatre’s production of Now You See It doesn’t really begin until David McBean’s Shaftesbury-Phipps struts on stage. In the role of the married lady of the house’s hapless suitor, McBean continues his local theater tradition of being a scene-stealer, whether it’s bounding through open windows or stuffily pronouncing India “In-ja.” Shaftesbury-Phipps, mind you, is not the bad guy in Kenneth McLeish’s adaptation of a farce written by Georges Feydeau in 1892. That would be a philandering husband (Kern McFadden), who puts his wife (Allison Minick) to sleep with hypnosis so he can frolic with a lover.
In this hectic Edwardian comedy, directed at the North Coast Rep by Bruce Turk on a gorgeous set by Marty Burnett, nothing especially novel or surprising occurs, but there are sight gags, double takes and moments of hapless exasperation to spare. Besides McBean, the cast features the dependable Ruff Yeager, bellowing indignation as a cuckolded wine merchant. John Greenleaf’s manservant Oriole, perpetually woozy not from wine but from something stronger, relies on dipsomaniacal antics, a familiar ploy.
Now You See It runs through March 27 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $43-$50; northcoastrep.org
The appeal of Circle Mirror Transformation is twofold: Its characters are genuine, true-to-life people who are possessed with insecurities and prone to self-absorbed little meltdowns—just like us—and we get a voyeuristic kick out of watching them be insecure and melt down in Marty’s “Adult Creative Drama” class in fictional Shirley, Vermont. Annie Baker’s play posits simple rather than monumental truths about human behavior. Point Loma Playhouse’s production, directed by George Ye, occupies the theater’s shell-like stage, managing to accommodate the play’s physicality (Marty’s four students, one her husband, play theater games as a pretext for understanding themselves and their classmates). Elementary stuff.
Circle Mirror Transformation runs through March 13 at Point Loma Playhouse. $20-$22; pointlomaplayhouse.com
Worth noting: San Diego State University’s School of Theatre, Television and Film is presenting through March 13 a first-rate production of The Drowsy Chaper one in SDSU’s Don Powell Theatre. Tickets are $15-$17. See it. kpbs.org/events
Rocks in Her Pocket: The ghosts of Virginia Woolf, Diane Arbus and Sylvia Plath appear to a maid at an academic conference in this new play from Adele Edling Shank. It opens for five performances March 9 at the Arthur Wagner Theatre at UCSD. theatre.ucsd.edu
R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe: A return engagement of the one-man-show about a spaceship captain where the audience is part of the crew. Starring former Cirque du Soleil clown Ron Campbell, it opens March 10 at the Lyceum Stage in Downtown. sdrep.org
The Rocky Horror Show: You’ve seen the movie, now see the show about a couple who unwillingly stumbles upon the castle of a “sweet transvestite” and a sordid cast of characters. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it opens March 10 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Mack & Mabel: The musical story of a silent film director recalling his love affair with an actress he discovered. It opens March 11 at the Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa. lamplighterslamesa.com
Jane Austen Unscripted: Impro Theatre’s off-the-cuff take on the novels of the famous English writer. It opens for a one-night performance on March 14 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
The Wizard of Oz: The story of a Kansas farm girl who gets swept up in a tornado, gets attacked by a lion and kills two witches, but somehow manages to never stop singing. Presented by Broadway San Diego, it opens March 15 at the San Diego Civic Theatre in Downtown. broadwaysd.com
Annie Warbucks : Everyone’s favorite red-headed orphan returns in this sequel to the beloved musical. Presented by JHCompany Youth Theatre, it runs though March 13 at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla. jcompanysd.org
The Drowsy Chaperone : This classic musical comedy set in the ’20s is actually a parody of musical comedies. Yeah, that’s pretty meta, but it won a bunch of Tonys. It runs through March 13 at SDSU’s Don Powell Theatre in the College Area. ttf.sdsu.edu
The Last Match : As the drama of a tennis match between a Russian and an American plays out on the court, the behind-the-scenes drama is just as fast-paced. Written by Anna Zeigler, it runs through March 13 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Now or Later : The west coast premiere of Christopher Shinn’s provocative play about a presidential election that turns all too personal when controversial photos surface of the Democratic candidate’s son. It runs through March 13 at the Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? : Edward Albee’s classic drama about two married couples who meet for drinks and leave forever changed. Presented by the Intrepid Theatre Company, it runs through March 13 at the Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp. intrepidtheatre.org
Now You See It : Georges Feydeau’s comical farce includes a philandering husband, hypnotism and scandalous discoveries galore. Directed by Bruce Turk, it runs through March 20 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
WaistWatchers The Musical : A musical parody about four women obsessing over diet, work out regimens, plastic surgery and sex in their search for self-love. Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it runs through March 27 at the Lyceum Space Theatre in the Gaslamp. sdrep.org
Blithe Spirit : Noel Coward’s comedy deals with a writer having to deal with two wives when the first one returns from the after-life to haunt him. It runs through April 2 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.info
The Miracle Worker : William Gibson’s classic story of Helen Keller and her committed teacher Anne Sullivan. It runs through April 10 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org