BIG FISH, SMALL POND
Chamber Theater, 915 E. Pine St., fourth floor. 6 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 25; 7:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27.
Playwright Stephanie Timm's sweet, silly look at the rise and fall of a small-town, "punk-bluegrass" brother-and-sister duo is more a sketch than a play, but it's a terrific sketch with solid laughs, and the songse.g. "Kicking the Dog I Named After You"are priceless. Lead actor John Osebold (also composer of the genuinely catchy score) gives charm to dim bulb Jonny Racket, and Montana von Fliss, as his expansively heartbroken sister, Dogtooth Violet, would be reason enough to see any show. STEVE WIECKING
DANCE OF THE CALUSARI
Freehold Studio, 1529 10th Ave., second floor. Sat., 9/27, 1:45pm
The language in this eastern European story of possession and exorcism is an awkward combination of anthropological text and soap opera, but the dancing of the Calusaritraditionally performed in secret, all-male ritualsmore than makes up for any glitches. The Radost Folk Ensemble contributes authentic choreography full of intricate high-speed steps and jumps, and the unusual structure gives their stamping and shivering the spastic look of possession. SANDRA KURTZ
DELI! THE MUSICAL
Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave. 7:45 p.m. Wed., Sept. 24; 4:45 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27.
I'd like to say that Deli! is as tasty as a Reuben from Roxy's, but even the ugly duckling of the sandwich world holds together better. The cabaret dreams of a Rubenesque deli worker and two ill-conceived heavy-metal interludes make ridiculous bedfellows. The show has a good heart, but it's wildly uneven. NEAL SCHINDLER
Freehold, 1529 10th Ave., second floor.
6 p.m. Wed., Sept. 24.
From the opening moment when her white-powdered hand comes twining out between the curtains, Haruko Nishimura's performance of a young adolescent is a glossary of Butoh style from twisted postures to anguished gestures. If you're a Butoh fan, this Degenerate Art Ensemble production is the place you want to be. If you don't know, this is the place to find out. S.K.
F***ING HANDICAPPED GUY
Hugo House, 6 p.m. Wed., Sept. 24; 9 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 25; 1:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27; 5:45 p.m. Sun., Sept. 28.
Nobody wants to be the f***ing critic who disses the differently-abled performer's solo show, so let's keep it to straight reportage: Four people in the audience fell asleep. S.W.
NW Actors Studio, 1100 E. Pike, second floor. 8 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 25; 11:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27; 2 p.m. Sun., Sept. 28.
The good stuff in playwright/actor Jennifer Pratt's story about three female 9-to-5ers obsessed with video games never amounts to anything more than a very rough script in progress. Pratt has some amusing notionsmostly equating the daunting travails of a work day with the obstacles in a typical Atari challengebut they'd be better suited to a monologue: The other actors here seem to be around simply so Pratt can bounce her own ideas off herself. S.W.
JOB: THE HIP-HOP MUSICAL
Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave.
9:45 p.m. Fri., Sept. 26; 6 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27.
Yep, it works: Jerome Saibil and Eli Batalion update and rap the Biblical story of Job in a smart, secular show that breathlessly manages to sample everything from The Wizard of Oz to K.C. and the Sunshine Band. These are two guys on a creative high, flying off intricately clever wordplay that probably has even Cole Porter smiling somewhere. S.W.
L.A. NASTY, OR JESUS, WHAT WERE WE THINKING?
NW Actors Studio, 10:30 p.m. Wed., Sept. 24; 8 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 25;
6:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27; 2 p.m. Sun., Sept. 28.
Try this math: Two-fifths of the old Habit local comedy troupe is at least three-quarters as funny as the full ensemble. In their uproarious new show, Ryan Dobosh and Mark Siano mischievously dissect the L.A. experience, in the process revealing how the move from Seattle can pay unexpected dividends. N.S.
NW Actors Studio. 7:30 p.m. Wed., Sept. 24; 9:30 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 25; 1:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27.
A European cabaret performer and his stone-faced sidekick (Nhar) follow a dream to discover the Yeti at the North Pole. It's good-natured comedy but the clowning isn't particularly skilled or particularly funny. S.W.
Re-bar, 1114 Howell St. 8 p.m. Thurs., Sept 25-Sun., Sept. 28.
Piledriver! is the Boogie Nights of big-time wrestling, a tag-teaming smackdown fueled by sex, drugs, and headlocks. A ragtag caravan of salty, overblown egos eke out a living hitting the canvas during the swinging '70s, with the drama bouncing between the ricocheting ropes of homoeroticism and homosexual panic. It's all wild, loud fun. The fight sequences are excellent, and the story is by turns hilarious, bawdy, corny, and surprisingly touching. RICK LEVIN