Funny Stuff

Trio of rib-tickling plays open in Bay Area

If it’s possible to overdose on laughter, then now is a dangerous time. Two of the funniest plays ever written are running in the area.

In Sonoma, Narrow Way Stage Company ( presents Michael Frayne’s high-energy farce Noises Off (weekends through May 31), showing life on- and off-stage, as a band of dysfunctional actors rehearse a wild sex farce. Tony Genesis’s rotating two-story set shows both sides of the wacky action, from the multiplying sardines to the frenetically timed tumbles down the stairs.

Meanwhile, running through June 21, Berkeley Rep ( is presenting the Bay Area premiere of Richard Bean’s madcap One Man, Two Gunners (pictured), a bawdy British, ’60s-era adaptation of the classic Servant of Two Masters, in which a desperate bloke ends up working for two different London criminals. With rockabilly tunes and a few scene-setting songs inspired by the Beatles, this show caused a sensation in London and New York.

The farce is less rambunctious but still absurdly ingenious in Ross Valley Players’ production of Sarah Ruhl’s Clean House, running through June 14. When a cleaning woman who’d rather tell jokes meets a woman who can’t stop cleaning and another who can’t get her house clean enough, the stage is set for high-octane battles, and heart-stopping discoveries. In The Clean House, people really can die laughing, and be all the happier for it.

Sonoma County Library
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