In the past San Francisco's Foul Play Productions has given us such campy pleasures as a rock opera of The Wicker Man or stage adaptations of The Blob, The Birds and other B-movies that actually start with the letter B. Now company co-founder and impish playwright Sean Owens gives you a peek at his shorts. Written and directed by Owens, Breeches of Etiquette is billed as "A Tailor-Made Evening of Sartorial Short Plays & Song," but the uniting theme is really more about sex and relationships (and, yes, about etiquette as well) than about apparel.
A couple of the short plays certainly make clever use of clothing. In "The Game's Afoot," Sherlock Holmes (Owens, cultured and assured) and Moriarty (a delightedly self-satisfied Rik Lopes) are depicted as a couple who take pleasure in their little game of clues and deduction, as Holmes peels back the layers of Moriarty's scheme with each layer of clothing. The bittersweet "Double Windsor" shows a heartbroken best man (Eddie Barol) adjusting the tie of his friend and oblivious object of desire (Lopes) before his wedding. Costumer Kathryn Wood, who also performs in the show, provides a pleasing variety of period finery for the various characters in various eras.
Sean Owens and Rik Lopes.
A touchingly melancholy Schoen opens the second act with a sad story about always being the first one at a party until she can't do it anymore. Other plays concern a bland and naive newlywed couple (Barol and Nikita Schoen) being cruised by a cultured, deliciously florid voluptuary (Lopes); a clever bit revealing everything you need to know about a group of characters through a word-association game; and a rhyming encounter between Macbeth and the Weird Sisters that harps on all the anxieties of modern womanhood. Some of these bits go on too long, but it's a fine showcase for Owens' witty dialogue, with solidly amusing performances.
Kathryn Wood and James Mayagoitia.