There are two really great shows playing in town right now, featuring two outstanding performances by local actors: The Receptionist at Portland Center Stage, and American Buffalo at Third Rail Repertory, starring Sharonlee McLean and Tim True, respectively.

If you've been thinking about trying to see something, it's probably not going to get any better this season than these two shows. I appreciate that theater tickets are expensive (I absolutely could not afford to go to most of the shows that I cover), but there are $20 rush tickets available for The Receptionist—show up early, and get in line, and if the show doesn't sell out, you're in. Plus, PCS isn't stingy with the promotions, and they usually offer some sort of wacky deal (I suggest following them on Twitter, if you're into that, and you can find more ticket info here). Third Rail, well, I can't help you much there—tickets are $22-29 (more info here). I'll have a full, gushing review in next week's Mercury, but for now I'll leave you with this: Arguably Portland's finest theater company, one of Portland's best actors, one of David Mamet's best plays... I'd say it's worth it.

I'd be particularly interested to hear people's thoughts on The Receptionist—I thought it was great, obviously, enjoyed the performances and the script (my full review is here), but there are a handful of comments from irate subscribers on PCS' blog who found it boring, overrated, and a "fluff of nothing with a 'message' tacked on the end." (Avoid that link if you're afraid of spoilers, and in this case you should be.) Of course, if you made a Venn Diagram of myself in relation to your average PCS subscriber, the only area of overlap would come at the theater itself... Anyone here seen it?