Consider the titles of these two shows. "Anastasia Krupnik" at the B Street sounds like it might be an epic Russian novel by Tolstoy, while the Sacramento Theater Company's "Bark!" sounds like it could be a performance for kids.
Actually it's the other way around. "Anastasia Krupnik" is a family show, told from a ten-year-old girl's point of view. But the play deals with real life issues that will resonate with all age groups, like the announcement that a new baby brother is on the way.
Anastasia: You're too old to have a baby.
Anastasia: Well, you're probably wondering w-h-e-r-e you're going to put this baby in this extremely small apartment?
Dad: Actually yes, we have been thinking about that. Do you have any ideas?
Anastasia: Yes, yes I do. It can have my room, because I'm moving out! Excuse me, but I have to go pack!
We've all seen a kid make that kind of grand exit to end an argument - but then we see Anastasia develop a more mature understanding of what her parents are going through. I really appreciated this show's entertaining, perceptive take on changing family dynamics and life's bumpy transitions.
Then there's the unassuming mini-musical on stage at the Sacramento Theatre Company called "Bark!" It features six adult actors wearing dog collars, backed by a three piece band. Each number is related through a canine viewpoint, including a song about an aging dog who gets the royal princess treatment:
("But I have blintzes every night, topped with sour cream in every bite, with calories galore… Oy, they couldn't love me more.")
Another scene features by a Labrador Retriever carrying a torch for a famous collie he's only glimpsed on tv:
(King, a Labrador Retriever: "I'm in love! Lassie! Lassie! Lassie!"
Sounds kind of like the ghost of Al Jolson being channeled by pooch.