THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT
Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-441-3322. $12-$26. 7 p.m. Fri.; 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun., Dec. 22.
Any story that includes fizzy, jet- propelling flatulence is sure to enthrall a young audience. Even better, this adaptation adheres to Roald Dahl's charming book, preserving his Dickensian taste for life's cruelties as well as his delightful atrocities of language.
Young Sophie is snatched from her orphanage and taken to a giant's lair after spotting him at his nightly rounds dispensing dreams. There, she learns that while her captor is vegetarian and kind, others of his ilk eat children in the night.
Puppetry and clever stagecraft help convince us that actor David Gehrman's scrub-faced cheeriness is several stories tall. The show's heart, meanwhile, is as big as all outdoors. GIANNI TRUZZI
Union Garage, 1418 10th Ave., 206-720-1942. $12-$14. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat.; 7 p.m. Sun. Ends Sat., Oct. 26.
Actually, there are two men here: David Nochimson, a quirky actor who takes on Sam Shepard's solo Savage/Love; and Philip D. Clarke, who performs an original piece entitled Can't Help But Think. Both plays are brief and intermittently engaging. But Nochimson's atonal delivery keeps the first play at a distance, while Clarke's piece is a series of underdeveloped, unrelated monologues. Nochimson has some beautiful stage business with an accordion, and Clarke scores a few palpable hits at the expense of macram鮠It's just a shame that the evening doesn't quite hold together. CHRIS JENSEN
MONEY & RUN
Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave., 206-325-6500. $10. 11 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat., Nov. 2.
A Terribly Spooky Money & Run Special, the latest installment of this late-night cult spoof of bad series TV, has writer/director Wayne S. Rawley's titular antiheroes spending the night in a forbidding mansion while the other guests are picked off one by one. It's an intentionally lowbrow, cheerfully obvious, Mel Brooks-ian parody ("My blouse has torn! I'm half-naked in the middle of the woods, and I'm only 17!" sobs a soon-to-be victim). The show is missing the comic energies of Julie Rawley, who usually plays the nefarious liquor store baron Big Momma Bob, but if she had to be replaced, chameleonic character actor Shannon Kipp was the perfect choice. It's Brandon Whitehead, however, who runs away with Money—he camps it up as the manor's mysterious hostess, and, aptly enough, he's a scream. STEVE WIECKING
WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Liberty Deli, 2722 Alki Ave. S.W., 206-935-8420. $29 dinner and show, $15 show only. 6:30 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. show Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat., Nov. 9.
Ibsen's last play feels like a ghost story even though it's not. Perhaps it's how Professor Rubek, a discontented sculptor, is indifferent to the rough attentions of the bear hunter to his wife. Or maybe because Irinya, the inspiration for his masterpiece (and who is again drawing him into her madness), speaks of herself as dead. And the show's three women float in sheer nightgowns, as in some low- budget Spanish vampire movie.
It's sad to see how waning realist master Ibsen clumsily grasped toward modernism, employing heavy-handed symbols to convey the torment of art. Director Frances Hearn uses movement and voice to create a dreamlike state. It's true to the text, yet it's like watching the Addams Family stage Strindberg—altogether ooky. GIANNI TRUZZI