Elephant Revival in Concert at Mr. Smalls; ‘The Last Match’ Being Played at City (Thurs., 5/5/16)

1) Not often do you get a song in which the music has a traditional country/bluegrass feel, while the lyrics deal with digital clocks and the essential nature of time. Songs like “What Is Time?” (above) are typical of a genre that the musicians of Elephant Revival have called “transcendental folk.” Other interesting numbers in the Colorado group’s repertoire include “Drop” and “Sing to the Mountain.” Why Elephant Revival? Well, elephants never forget, and the sound is roots-based. But it’s also highly eclectic, with instruments that range from the musical saw to bongos, so it’s not surprising to learn that Elephant Revival has performed with acts ranging from Bela Fleck to Parliament-Funkadelic. Locally, the Elephant will be in the room at Mr Smalls with special guests Ben Sollee and The Unknown String Band. 7:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (MV)

2) If the schedule at City Theatre always seems full of plays you haven’t seen before, including some you never heard of, this is intentional. The company is devoted to staging new and recent plays—every production is a Pittsburgh premiere and some are world premieres. City’s latest is The Last Match, by up-and-coming American playwright Anna Ziegler. This one comes fresh to the local stage, having debuted in February in San Diego, and it offers a seriocomic take on an ever-popular American subject: winning.

The story revolves around a fictional tennis match at the U.S. Open. Two high-strung men battle on the court while one player’s wife and the other’s girlfriend provide a running commentary, along with plenty of distracting interaction during breaks in the action. In the premiere at San Diego’s Old Globe theater, The Last Match was performed with the actors swinging imaginary tennis racquets at imaginary balls. City Theatre is doing the play in its Hamburg black-box theater and the word is that no audience members will be harmed. City is also offering a limited number of Pay-What-You-Want tickets. 8 p.m. Matches, I mean performances, run through May 15. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. (MV)

 

3) Keanu – It may or may not please Keanu Reeves to know that he’s been a star long enough that people are now able to start doing riffs on his name. No, this action comedy has nothing to do with one of the biggest stars to ever come out of Canada. The Keanu of the title is actually a much-beloved cat who has been taken from his home. His owner, Rell, is so distraught that he enlists several friends to steal him back. Little do they realize that the cat-nappers are violent gang members and in order to free the pussy Rell and co. have to pose as drug dealers. The film stars Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, who just concluding their long-running, and at times ground-breaking, TV comedy show “Key and Peele.” Will Forte, Nia Long and Luis Guzmán put in an appearance. And there’s even a rumor, unconfirmed, that Mr. Reeves provides a voice for the kitty during one of the scenes. Check Fandango for screens and times. (TH)