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New This Week:
|Of Mice and Men|
Photo: Joey Rumpell
My take: The relevance of this story to a present-day American that seems intent on returning to the bad old economic days seems obvious, but SATE has taken the subtext and put it front and center. "John Steinbeck's short novel", writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "...springs vibrantly to life in Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble's (SATE) riveting production. Director Jacqueline Thompson and the company intentionally cast the emotionally powerful show to authentically reflect our country's migrant workforce, adding poignant relevance to a story originally set in 1935." Does the unusual casting, which includes some cross-gender roles, work? Ms. Farmer thinks so, and Ann Lemmons Pollack, in her St. Louis Eats and Drinks blog, says this is "[f]ine work in an intimate space." YMMV but it looks like SATE has once again produced an innovative and provocative show.
|Stones in His Pockets|
Photo: John Lamb
My take: Full disclosure: I'm on the board and play reading committee at West End, but I have also been a great admirer of the remarkable comedy/drama since my wife and I first saw it in London many years ago. It's a virtuoso exercise for the two-man cast, who have to shift characters rapidly and often to portray around 30 roles in the course of the evening. I have shared the stage with both of the guys in this cast and I can tell you from personal experience that they've got the goods. Mark Bretz's review at Ladue news is typical of the show's notices: "Marie Jones’ whimsical, bittersweet story is given a touching tribute by director Steve Callahan and the talented twosome of Jared Sanz-Agero and Jason Meyers in a sparkling West End Players Guild presentation."
My take: I'm not a fan of grand guignol theatre in general, but if (say) Evil Dead: The Musical is your particular cup of stage blood, you might want to take a look at this unapologetically outrageous revision of Shakespeare's most violent play (which, to be fair, is often cited as an early example of grand guignol). Over at Ladue News, Mark Bretz praises the production's "inspired silliness" and says this Hallowe'en-themed show is "as much treat as trick."