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Chinglish 

When: Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m., Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m., Wednesdays, 7 p.m. and Thu., Oct. 4, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 21 2012
Price: $14.50-$99

Billed as a comedy about the perils of cross-culture communication, David Henry Hwang´s Chinglish, now receiving its West Coast premiere at Berkeley Rep, is actually a salty, political play with nods to the Enron scandal and the current Bo Xilai imbroglio. At its core, though, it's a sweet, star-crossed love story involving a guileless American businessman (Alex Moggridge) and a svelte, canny vice-minister (Michelle Krusiec). David Korins´ sets, built on rotating turntables, conjure images of a gradually modernizing but somewhat staid and traditional China, where politicians are still adjusting to their new position on the axis of global power. The characters consort in a series of intricately designed, but ultimately prosaic environments that fit together like puzzle pieces. Hwang, who also penned M. Butterfly, has created a play that´s at once a fable and a social commentary -- a series of hilarious inter-titles bear out the theme as characters attempt to parlay in Mandarin and English. Leigh Silverman directs. Through October 7 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley). $14.50-$99. 510-647-2972 or BerkeleyRep.org

— Rachel Swan

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