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March 15, 2010

LEE HARTGRAVE REVIEWS

DEN OF THIEVES

This is a funny insight about people who must make moral choices. Oh? You didn’t know that there was a 12-step program for Thieves. It’s called Thieves Anonymous.

This play is the funniest, fantastic laugh-riot you’re likely see this year or any other. Å Counselor knocks on a door of a minor thieves apartment. The girl does do a lot of shop lifting – but only for junk food. The Counselor suggests that she join Over-Eaters Anonymous. He says: “I’m a member. I haven’t touched refined sugar in years. Would I lie to you?” Well, yes and no! Cause the Counselor kind of falls off the wagon later on.

Then we meet the girl’s ex-boyfriend. He is a streetwise person who is looking for partners to rob a nightclub. He knows where the money is. He just needs to find a good safecracker. And lo and behold – the Angelic Counselor has some experience with that.

Den of Thieves author Stephen Adly Guirgis (he also wrote the fabulous (Jesus Hopped The A-Train) – has his ear to the ground when it comes to street talk and bringing religion into the mix of things.

Other characters in this laugh-a-minute show are a ditzy sex dancer (lap dancing anyone?). Then there are the Mafiosi who don’t think kindly about having their safe cracked. Of course, the group of misfit thieves - botches the job and gets caught. Now the Mafia guys have to decide how to kill them.

This is one of those plays that’s difficult to bring to light on printed pages. After all – it is the actors that make this play or not. And – SF is blessed to have that exhilarating cast. Every pause, every word is a Gem. Timing is everything – and the Actors on the SF Playhouse stage are experts at it. Then there is Susi Damilano – one of the Bay Area’s best directors. She is the one who brings this script to life. Every nuance, every step has her stamp on it. IT’S MORE FUN THAN A JOHN HOLMES BLOW-UP DOLL!

And here is another amazing thing. It’s the set design by Bill English. It’s Altman-esque. What an imagination – and you will be amazed at the whiz-bang changes that are so fast that you think you’re seeing a magic show. How does he do it? It’s hard to imagine a more talented designer/actor/artistic director.

THE SUBLIMELY SMART, SEXY, WITTY AND WELL-ACTED PLAYERS ARE: Kathryn Tkel, Casey Jackson, Chad Deverman, Corinne Proctor, Peter Ruocco, Ashkon Davaran and Joe Madero. I HEARD 500 CHEERS!

Yes! Seeing Thieves is the most fun you’ll have this year. “It’s A Blast!”

AT SF PLAYHOUSE

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

FOLLOW LEE: twitter.com/leehartgrave
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http://www.beyondchron.org/





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