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

Running short on optimism?

Would you like an anti-dote to the pessimism that has nagged us since the house bubble vaporized?

Would you like rich frothy optimism, rubbed like a topical ointment, a palliative, on your funny bone?

Then American Conservatory Theatre is the place you should be.

Don’t rely on The Wall Street Journal, the Fed, the U.S. Treasury, your Divorce Lawyer, your Real Estate broker, your Hedge Fund Manager or the Nightly News to cheer you up.

You need comedy; not tragedy and certainly not expanding doses of reality.

Currently ACT is performing ONCE IN A LIFETIME, a gut wrenching spoof on Hollywood that will have you laughing so hard it will restore the laugh lines you sold off to Botox.

Written by George S Kauffman and Moss Hart, and directed by Mark Rucker, ONCE IN A LIFETIME has the levity of the Marx Brothers, the satirical wit of Twain and the parody punch of Mamet.

Julia Coffey as the fast thinking, even faster talking May Daniels, is the dazzling jewel of this delightful, galloping ensemble piece.

Fifteen actors assume 70 roles to keep this aspidistra flying and the laughter rolling.

An absolutely stunning set design by Daniel Ostling and a video design by Alexander Nichols not only provide the visual backdrop, they dovetail with a multi-media synergy to superbly augment the show: melding a classical 1930 comedy with the theatrical technology of the twenty-first century.

If you love comedy and want to lift yourself into the giddy empyrean, get thee to ACT pronto; call the box office at 415-749-2228 or visit www.act-sf.org.