Loose of limb and baggy of pants, Bill Irwin charges through Scapin, hitting on a young woman (by admiring her trunk), stuffing his cruel master in a sack, and disguising himself as a red suited ACT patron and crawling through box seats to elude said master's heavy hand with the walking stick of doom.
Adapting and updating Moliere’s 1671 original with topically fresh dialogue (“Moliere didn’t write this part” is admitted freely), dance hall music, and the occasional soft shoe routine, Bill Irwin obviously takes great joy in blowing the fourth wall to pieces and dancing around his fellow cast members as they portray fellow servants, ruthless employers, and the two sets of young lovers - complete with tall boots and appropriately heaving bosoms - he’s helping via his gift for mayhem.
Called “a love child of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Marcel Marceau” by The New York Times, Irwin’s clowning brilliance apparently comes from elastic joints and a deep love of the ridiculous - morphing a centuries-old farce into true comedy.
Through October 23. 415 Geary Street. Tickets start at $20. 415-749-2228 or act-sf.org.