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(Okay, a few of the performers in the nation's biggest Fringe Festival aren't nude. but a lot of them are.)

 

Going to 2nd Base with God: A Stormy Romance
HOLLY DAVIS
The title of Holly Davis's one-woman show refers to a story she tells about going to a faith-healing church service and being offered the chance to speak in tongues. She declined, and posits it as a benchmark in the process of lifelong seduction between herself and the Almighty. Along the way she touches on her cats, her perfect sister, and the depression that casts a dark cloud over her life once she was "inside the white picket fence." The show is at its best when Davis cuts loose, such as during a dialogue with the aforementioned deity, though it runs long and could stand an edit. Thu. 6:00 p.m., Sat. 8:00 p.m., Bryant-Lake Bowl. --Quinton Skinner

 

Funny in the Head
ACTORS ALLIANCE OF SAN DIEGO
These three short comedies are sharply written, but alas, only one avoids awkward pacing. In the first performance, Matthew Scott is convincing as a drug-addled, suicidal therapist confronting a patient who's combating Hollywood's superficial glare. But it's uncomfortably slow and, well, a tad too L.A. superficial. The second playlet, "Sick in Love," speeds things up a bit, with an inspired and dark premise about a doctor whose wife lives in a blinking box. But in the concluding piece, "Serial," Allyson Collins largely redeems the show with a portrayal of an incredibly forward lawyer-lush embarrassing herself with clueless brio at a holiday party. Wed. and Sat. 4:00 p.m. Brave New Workshop. --Molly Priesmeyer

 

Henry Arms Left His Arms on the Bus
HOUSE RED THEATRE COMPANY
The premise of this play is wonderful: A highly dysfunctional family discovers a picture of Henry VIII in their mailbox, and all four members begin to project their unfulfilled fantasies onto the quickly framed photo. The verbally abusive mother and adopted daughter fall in love with the king, while the lonely, narcoleptic janitor father who "can't do the mattress jig" befriends him. Unfortunately the family members and their resentments stay where they began during this 35-minute family fight. We're only given some new dimensions to the characters at the very end, when the play takes an abrupt turn that doesn't quite make sense. Fri. 10:00 p.m. Mixed Blood. --Molly Priesmeyer

 

I'm Naked and I'm Ready
PATRICE SNEAD AND SAMANTHA DEAN
The earnest, no-boys-allowed wit of Sex and the City mingles with something considerably darker in this series of monologues about a multiracial twentysomething woman searching for love. The charismatic Samantha Dean performs solo with limited props, and her penetrating, often accusatory gaze is the show's best asset. The material generally fails to transcend the mundane (does anyone want to hear another story about a guy who doesn't return calls?), but its bolder moments succeed. While the use of poetry and music throughout the show is distracting and unnecessary, Snead and Dean's willingness to be exposed without pretense is refreshing, and Dean has major star quality. Fri. 7:00 p.m., Sat. 4:00 p.m. Interact Theatre. --Diablo Cody

 

I'm Sorry and I'm Sorry
THE CANDIDATOS
This show's self-proclaimed comparison to Cirque du Soleil isn't to be taken lightly. Mime makeup, battered and ill-fitting suits, and a character who spends half the show speaking French make for an experience that's très strange. It's an ideal setting for an hour-long debate over how Frenchy's knife ended up in his pompous actor friend's back. Although the argument gets tedious, pratfalls and more stabbings manage to take up the slack. Still, the slapstick and circular logic can be at odds, and the duo's considerable talent, like the show's rapid-fire bilingual banter, often gets lost in the mayhem. Thu. 10:00 p.m., Sat. 2:30 p.m. Brave New Workshop. --Lindsey Thomas

 

London After Midnight: Victorian Tales of Crime and the Supernatural
HARDCOVER THEATRE
This campy production from Steve Schroer's page-to-stage company follows a vampire and the characters he touches throughout London as mobs break out, bodies are dug up, and Sir Robert Peel (Sean Byrd) begs a delusional Queen Victoria to create a new police force. The drawn backdrops are flipped from a cemetery scene to the Queen's castle as quickly as the actors shift from hooligan to gentleman. Six actors play twelve characters, so the scenes, based on penny dreadfuls and some more legit lit from the Victorian era, can feel a tad discombobulating at first. But mostly this fast-paced play is a hoot. Wed. 8:30 p.m., Thu. 5:30 p.m., Sat. 7:00 p.m. MCTC Studio. --Molly Priesmeyer

 

Mythed
THE THREE STICKS THEATER COMPANY
Mythed invokes the gods of faux naïveté in a musical that seems to blend Monty Python and The Fantasticks. This sweetly scatological Welsh myth brings forth a flower maiden (born of a magician out of a lot of belching and tummy rubbing) who marries a geeky, Welsh-spitting lad, but inevitably falls in love with a macho hunter intent on wiping out the moose population and getting rid of an inconvenient spouse. The excellent cast animates objects such as a malevolent rocking chair and sadistic cuckoo clock, creating witty images out of simple things (fingers as puppets, audience interaction, a miniature theater that is also a keyboard). Fri. 4:00 p.m., Sun. 7:00 p.m. Red Eye. --Linda Shapiro

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