Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Bug": ☼ ☼ ☼ 1/ 2

Who needs Aerosmith? If you want to see two people rip up a motel room in royal fashion, run down to San Francisco Playhouse to catch the San Francisco Premiere of Tracy Letts's "Bug."

Susi Damilano plays Agnes and Gabriel Marin plays Peter. They are both fabulous -- Damilano's monologue at the end of the show as she ties everything together in her superbly twisted fashion, shows her cutting loose and finding a very convincing inner wacko. We know Marin is a candidate for the loony bin from the very beginning, and expect things not to go all that well for him, but don't expect him to drag Agnes into his delusionary downward spiral.

Or is it delusionary? Keith Burkland's Doctor Sweet makes us pause -- what is on the level here? (HINT: Peter, below, is not kissing the doctor's neck. Note knife.)

We knew John Flanagan's menacing ex-con Jerry Goss would return to cause trouble, but...well, you've got to see this show for yourself.

Letts has won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for "August: Osage County," which is running currently on Broadway. He wrote "Bug" in 1996 and it's amazing he hasn't been locked up yet. Wear long sleeves. Don't miss "Bug."

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ 1/2

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Bug" Three and a Half Stars and it might have been more if our heads weren't still buried under the covers. Damilano and Marin earn one star each, and director Jon Tracy earns another for not putting any brakes on the actors in Act Two. Friends, we are awarding the last half star to the stage crew, because not only do they have to come out between acts and insect proof the motel room set, but they're going to have to clean the whole place up afterwards. Great show.

San Francisco Playhouse
533 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Wed.-Sun. thru June 14. $20-$38

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