Theater & Performing Arts

You, Nero

When: Tuesdays, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Wednesdays, Sundays, 7 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m., Thu., June 11, 2 p.m. and Thu., June 25, 2 p.m. Continues through June 28 2009

Berkeley Rep closes its 2008-09 season with Amy Freed's blistering comedy You, Nero about a notorious Roman emperor who just wants to be loved. Danny Scheie stars as the cute, supremely narcissistic, drama queen Nero who gallivants through his palace in a big medallion and leopard-print briefs. Jeff McCarthy is Scribonius, the has-been scribe who is forced to pen Nero's biopic, and with it, a huge cult of adoration. Susannah Shulman is Poppaea, Nero's beautiful and enterprising mistress, who has her own pretensions to power. It's a joyously campy production that mixes historical facts with modern pop-culture references. Freed's script is smart, fast-paced, and tricky, though a lot of the show's success owes to Sharon Ott's direction and Scheie's comic timing. Whenever he steps into a scene, you know it's going to be good. Through June 28 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Thrust Stage (2025 Addison St.). $16.50-$71.

Rachel Swan

Price: $16.50-$71

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