Cue the fireworks and dancing boys: I have an announcement. The Gin Game is the best show I have ever seen at Altarena, in 15 years of reviewing. Top notch, stellar, outstanding: What else can I say? I’m not given to superlatives in reviews, especially because I’ve seen so much mediocre theatre since I started reviewing in the Bay Area in 1992. But this. The Gin Game: Go see it.

There are no ninja, vampires or time-travelers. The two actors, who comprise the entire cast, are older, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t drama, action, violence, romance and comedy. 

The Altarena Playhouse is currently presenting Side Show; a semi-biographic musical based on the life of Daisy and Violet Hilton.

Daisy and Violet are perhaps more widely known as the glamorous conjoined twins who fueled lurid imaginations and provided fodder for tabloids up until their deaths in 1960.

Given the show’s misleading title, many might anticipate a show that barely rises above an actual side show or expect a lurid stage rendering of an anthology of anecdotes derived from tabloids; that’s your prurient mind playing tricks on you.