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Chris Gibson

Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Blithe Spirit

Lindenwood University Department of Theatre

Through 10/13/2007
Reviewed by Chris Gibson
It's never a good sign when the audience thins a bit after intermission. Of course, as a critic, I'm obliged to stick it out no matter how misguided a show might be. When performed with a mature cast that can comprehend the text, Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit , can be an entertaining play. However, the Lindenwood Department of Theatre's production suffers from a lack of understanding that leaves the evening bereft of wit.

Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Blame It on the Movies!

Lindenwood University Department of Theater

Through 10/27/2007
Reviewed by Chris Gibson
Lindenwood University's Theatre Department is presenting the musical revue Blame It on the Movies!, a collection of mostly famous songs spanning the beginning of the talkies through to Footloose and Flashdance. There are some moments to be enjoyed here, but unfortunately issues with licensing leave many memorable tunes truncated to just a verse or a snatch of chorus.

The St. Louis Cabaret Conference

8/24/2007 only
Reviewed by Chris Gibson
The Bistro at Grand Center was host to an evening of superior cabaret style entertainment this past Friday (August 24th,). Amanda McBroom and Lina Koutrakos , two talented and award winning performers made the trip to St. Louis to participate in the Cabaret Conference and to enthrall a very receptive packed house.

Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

A Lesson Before Dying

SIU-Edwardsville Department of Theater and Dance

Through 10/14/2007
Reviewed by Chris Gibson

The SIU-Edwardsville Department of Theatre and Dance begin their 2007-2008 season with an adaptation of Ernest Gaines's novel, A Lesson Before Dying. It's a powerful story of a young man named Jefferson who is wrongly accused of murder and sentenced to die in the electric chair. But a lagging pace, and a few unsure performances, work against this production being a complete success.

Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

A Christmas Carol

The Lindenwood University Department of Theatre

Through December 8, 2007
Reviewed by Chris Gibson
The Jelkyl Theatre on the campus of Lindenwood College is hosting its last production of A Christmas Carol. The theatre has been home to an annual presentation of the work for the past 30 years. The current version is a wonderfully straightforward and expressionistic take on Charles Dickens' tale.

First Run Theatre

Through 6/24/2007
Reviewed by Chris Gibson

First Run Theatre is presenting a series of fifteen short plays over the course of two nights. The plays are all works by local playwrights and cover a wide range of topics. Writers such as Mario Farwell, Ruth Marner, Thelma Urich, Valery Lenaye and Diane Auth get a chance to see some of their shorter pieces, which might go unperformed otherwise, receive a staging for a live audience. Unfortunately the evening is a mixed bag with little to recommend.

Friday, 13 February 2009 19:00

The Diviners

The Lindenwood University Department of Theatre and Dance

Through February 14, 2009
Reviewed by Chris Gibson

Jim Leonard Jr.'s work, The Diviners, is a depression era tale set in Zion, Indiana. It focuses on two distinct characters, a mentally challenged boy and a back-sliding preacher who wanders into town, and finds heart and humor in a story with a tragic destiny. The Lindenwood University Department of Theatre and Dance is presenting a compelling and engaging production of this play in the spacious confines of the Emerson Black Box Theatre. 

Friday, 23 January 2009 19:00

The Cemetery Club

Kirkwood Theatre Guild

Through January 24, 2009
Reviewed by Chris Gibson
Ida, Lucille and Doris are widows who meet once a month to talk, have tea, and visit the graves of their late husbands. They've formed a "cemetery club" as a sort of post-funeral coping mechanism, but the strain of hanging on to the past is beginning to show, and they find themselves at a crossroads when an eligible bachelor shows an interest in Ida.

Friday, 27 February 2009 19:00

Songs for a New World

Stray Dog Theatre

Through February 28, 2009
Reviewed by Chris Gibson

Not exactly a revue or a cabaret, Songs for a New World collects the music and lyrics of Jason Robert Brown to create a sort of "concept" musical. Brown himself says that the common thread among this group of intriguing melodies is that they all find their protagonists at a particular moment in their lives where they have to take a stand or make a choice. Stray Dog Theatre's production is engaging and generally well performed, but I'm not sure the show really works, although it's an enjoyable time, nonetheless.

Sunday, 25 January 2009 19:00

Seussical the Musical

St. Louis Family Theatre Series

January 23 - 25, 2009
Reviewed by Chris Gibson

Theatreworks USA is touring with a 75 minute, one act reduction of Seussical the Musical, that might more aptly be called "Horton the Musical", since it's stories focus mainly on the lovable pachyderm's whimsical adventures. While I'm certainly a fan of the tales spun by that master of wordplay, Dr. Seuss, this version, which is aimed at very young children falls well short of expectations. Judging it according to the wave of restlessness that began to filter through the crowd about an hour into the performance, I think it may just be bit too bland to fully engage either the young ones or their parents for its entire length.

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