Alan Ayckbourn’s plays walk the line between two extremes of British wit: biting satirical comedy in the manner of Noel Coward and comedies of manners ala Oscar Wilde OR the inspired humorous anarchy of Monty Python and Benny Hill.
‘Tis the Silly Season for Theatre where the saddest thing we see on stage is Tim Cratchit’s tiny crutch. No one shoots his eye out or is overlooked by Santa or, if an angel, fails to get his wings. Many interchangeable children receive whatever other Lifetime movie miracle might be in order.
“What becomes of a dream deferred? /Does it dry up /like a raisin in the sun?” “Harlem” by Langston Hughes.
Theatre companies keep bashing on about how this play or that play is "relevant to our time," which can get a bit tiresome, but Good really is reflective of us. Despite the fact that it is set in 1930s Germany and was written in Britain 1980, it speaks directly to American politics in 2012.
Opportunities to see a Eugene O’Neill play on a St. Louis stage are rare, so you should take the chance to see this one, not just because it’s O’Neill, but because it’s terrific theatre. Director Philip Boehm and his cast and crew have not made a misstep in rendering this difficult masterpiece.
The New Jewish Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers is a delight from beginning to end. It isn’t a perfect play, but under the sure direction of Doug Finlayson and the abundance of talent on stage and behind the scenes, it is rendered as a lovely and relatable story of family with all that word emotions that powerful word connotes.
I’m not sure how to classify Steven Dietz’s Inventing Van Gogh. It is an epistolary drama constructed in a multi-layered way with aspects of spiritualism and magic realism in the mix. It is didactic (it’s tricky to create dialogue from letters, which is what Dietz has done) but, despite his bona fides and they are impressive, he doesn’t seem up to making many of these speeches sound like anything other than what they are: words meant to be read and not spoken. I’ve only seen one other Dietz play—Becky’s New Car—and I didn’t think much of it either.
It is true that no one knows what goes on in other people's marriages. And when couples decide to split, everyone immediately worries about the effect on the children and, of course, the husband and wife. But these are not the only casualties when a marriage goes off the rails. What about the friends? Who gets 'custody' of them? How will this refiguring of the divorcing pair's relationship affect their married pals?
Mr. and Mrs. Zero (Chuck Brinkley, Kimberly D. Sansone) have been married 25 years. Mr. Zero has worked as a bookkeeper for 25 years. Mr. Zero is unhappy. Mrs. Zero is unhappy. When Mr. Zero is fired instead of getting the promotion he expected, he kills his boss, is executed and eventually learns the secret. The end.