Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle


The economy got you down?


It could be worse: you could be one of four rank amateurs who tried stealing $750,000 from the mob and is now sitting in the basement of a night club, wrapped up snuggly in duct tape, awaiting execution at sunrise.


Robbing the mob is one thing, insulting the mob's intelligence with an ill conceived safe cracking attempt is even worse.


Such is the fate of four loveable characters in Stephen Guirgis's play: DEN OF THIEVES now being performed at the San Francisco Playhouse.


Susi Damilano directs this hilariously dark comedy about four young adults, who are short on cash, short on prospects but very long on chutzpah and blind optimism.


Paul, played to a tee by Casey Jackson, is a well intended sponsor from 12-step program for recovering kleptomaniacs and compulsive over eaters; he also happens to be a family trained safe cracker.


Maggie, played by Kathryn Tkel, is Paul's pet project: ostensibly Paul wants to keep her sticky fingers from stealing junk food and to keep her from consuming the ill gotten empty calories found in Yodels: the reality is, Paul wants to sleep with Maggie.


Flaco, Maggie's ex-boy friend, played by Chad Deverman, primarily wants Maggie back again and secondarily wants Maggie to help him steal $750 large ones from what he erroneously thinks to be a relatively unprotected mob safe.


Boochie, played by Corinne Proctor, is Flaco's back-up mistress: standing in while Flaco is attempting to patch things up with Maggie.


Boochie too is recruited for the heist and although her assets are highly conspicuous, her talents for grand theft remain arcane.


The script is well constructed to the point of being air-tight: snappy dialogue is precisely balanced with action.


The finish is punctuated with enough epiphanies for nearly the entire cast of characters.


Susi Damilano has done a fantastic job sharply chiseling her characters.


An amazing set, designed by Bill English and constructed by Mateo, seems to violate all the Postulates of Euclidean Geometry: it fits into the finite space of this intimate theater.


The play runs through April 17th and will no doubt be talked about for a long time after.


For tickets call 415-677-9596 or surf on over to