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|Photo: Eric Woolsey|
My take: Call this a qualified recommendation, as it mostly applies to families with with children. The Rep says the show is recommended "for all grades and family audiences," a recommendation bolstered by Tina Farmer's review for KDHX. "The entire cast," she writes, "exaggerates their reactions and emotions just enough to help little children understand the "make believe" nature of theater without patronizing them, and the script successfully weaves in subtle humor and off-topic references that keep the parents and other adults in the theater chuckling as well...The Imaginary Theatre Company hits all the right notes with a family friendly show that doesn't forget there are adults in the audience too."
|Susie Wall as Dr. Ruth|
My take: While this one-woman show has not met with universal acclaim, notices have been mostly very positive. Lynn Venhaus at the Belleville News-Democrat, for example, calls it "an enchanting experience" while Tina Farmer at KDHX says it's "delightfully informative." Actress Susie Wall has been a fixture on the local theatre scene for many years and can be relied upon to deliver a solid performance.
|Reality at HotCity|
My take: This recommendation comes with mixed emotions as it's the last production for this company. After many decades, a death and resurrection, and a merger, the company that started out life as City Players is finally calling it quits. A fixture in St. Louis theatre for decades, City Players went into hibernation for many years only to briefly emerge under new management before joining up with HotHouse Theatre to form HotCity. "At least," says Steve Allen's Stage Door blog, "we see them go out on a high note with a remarkable cast bringing in an original production." "What better way for artistic director Marty Stanberry, managing director Bess Moynihan et al to leave than with an original play cultivated in HotCity’s annual GreenHouse New Play Festival" asks Mark Bretz at Ladue News. "And a very fine one at that, a comedy with dark undertones penned by playwright Lia Romeo."
My take: This show is apparently going to be a holiday tradition at Mustard Seed, and with good reason. The story of the remarkable holiday truce that spontaneously interrupted the insanity of World War I remains an inspiring reminder of what happens when ordinary people ignore the manipulations of their leadership and allow their basic decency to take control of their actions. The lesson for contemporary politics is clear.
Photo: John Lamb
My take: This play is one of Coward's greatest hits, and with good reason. It's skillfully constructed, unfailingly witty, and sharply observant in its look at human foolishness. The SLAS production has gotten good notice from the majority of local critics. At the Riverfront Times, for example, Malcom Gay observes that "under Bobby Miller's skillful direction, the Actors' Studio cast ably channels the period piece's fluid charms." Steve Allen at the Stage Door St. Louis blog agrees. "All of the wit, charm and bubbling humor," he writes, 'come across from the deft and delicious cast with director Bobby Miller bringing out every nuance of this absurd yet somehow plausible scenario."
|The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical|
Photo: John Lamb
My take: Stray Dog's Great American Trailer Park Musical was a tremendous hit with critics and audiences alike, and it looks like the holiday version is following suit. "If you're looking for a quirky Christmas show that's extremely funny and a little bit raunchy," writes Chris Gibson at broadwayworld.com, "then you owe it to yourself to see this show."
|A Raisin in the Sun|
Photo: Stewart Goldstein
My take: Hansberry's classic family drama is getting a much-praised presentation at the Black Rep. Over at KDHX, Missy Heinemann describes it as "stellar." At the Riverfront Times, Malcom Gay says that the script "maintains enormous narrative power, which the Black Rep's talented cast harnesses well."