Friday, August 30, 2013

Chuck's choices for the weekend of August 30, 2013

As always, the choices are purely my personal opinion. Take with a grain (or a shaker) of salt.

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New this week:

L-R: Bobby Miller and Julie Layton
Photo: John Lamb
Max and Louie Productions presents Nicky Silver's The Lyons Wednesdays through Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 and 8 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM. “The Lyons is about a family grappling with the impending death of its patriarch. When Ben Lyons' wife, Rita, and their grown children gather to say goodbye, they learn that despite being a family, each of them is utterly isolated. Afraid of closeness and afraid of solitude, they are propelled into foreign territory - human connection.” Performances take place at COCA, 524 Trinity in University City. For more information, visit

My take: Personally, I'm not much for dysfunctional family comedies, but this one seems to have a lot going for it. "The first thing to know about this play," writes Andrea Braun in her review for 88.1 KDHX, "is that it is hilarious...there is a lot of wordplay among absurd people in ridiculous situations which, of course, is the basis for humor. Normally, it’s hard to pull real comedy out of a piece when there is nobody to like, and that is certainly the case here (except for the nurse). But laugh we do."

Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents Nine by Jane Shepard and Sketch by Leverage Dance Theater Wednesday through Saturday at 8 and Friday and Saturday at 10. "Nine by Jane Shepard: Two women held in a life-threatening situation and the mind games they play to keep one another alive. Held in a room and chained apart, their only currency is words, and balance of power is everything when a single word becomes the hanging point between life and death. Sketch: Physical Theater meets Dance in a new piece by Hannah Fischer of Leverage Dance Theater, exploring fragmentation and time-lapse through a series of duets." Performances take place at The Chapel Venue, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information:

My take: SATE does not shy away from material that's unusual, challenging, confrontational or even politically loaded. This double bill would appear to be all of those things. "Torture, trust and the unknown," writes Tina Farmer in her review for 88.1 KDHX, "are deep subjects to cover in an evening that combines modern dance and a short play. The Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble has chosen to take a bold path with its presentation of Nine, a provocative and brutal short play, and Sketch, a dance by the Leverage Dance Theatre. The evening presents powerful questions but offers no easy answers, which only increases the impact of the show." Not many theatre companies are willing to roll those particular dice. Those that do probably deserve our support.

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