NTC Productions®, the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, is currently touring the country (their 33rd touring year) with the classic Christmas season production, A Christmas Carol. Originally a novella by Charles Dickens (first published in 1843), this musical adaption was written by Charles Jones, former NTC Executive Director. They recently stopped for a four-show run at the Fox Theatre, featuring a large cast and modest, yet very effective, set.
OnSite Theatre Company has an intriguing new production in its latest offering, the world premier of Hit-Story, by St. Louis playwright Carter Lewis. OnSite Theatre does not stage their productions in a particular theatre, but instead selects venues that enhance the work in question. In this instance, their venue for Hit-Story is Sweat, 8011 Maryland Avenue, a fitness center/boxing gym in Clayton, a perfect location, as the play requires a boxing ring. I am then intrigued and wonder if the play was written specifically for the venue, or the venue was chosen in response to the creation of the play? Just curious.
The moaning. The shambling, The insistent scratching. The mindless shuffling. The various states of decomposition. The blood. The lust to eat human flesh. Well, if not for the last two, we might well be watching a session of Congress. But no, instead we’re at 426 Crestwood Court watching Marble Stage Theatre’s presentation of the play Night of the Living Dead, the last offering in their 7th theatrical season.
The Alpha Players of Florissant have definitely taken on an ambitious production in their staging of South Pacific. This lavish musical is set against the backdrop of American and Japanese hostilities in the islands of the south pacific during WWII.
Family Musical Theatre is putting Guys and Dolls through its paces at the Ivory Theatre in South St. Louis. This quintessential bit of musical theatre has been given a slightly uneven, but still entertaining outing by Directors Mike Hesser and Alison Driscoll, and Musical Director Michael Blackwood.
In the nearly ten years I’ve been writing theatre reviews, I don’t recall ever leaving a show not having a clue as to what I will write about it. Muddy Waters Theatre’s current showing of the first of its season of three plays by Paula Vogel, The Baltimore Waltz, was my cause for concern. The short of it is, I didn’t get it.
The Presenters Dolan presented the husband and wife team of Joe Dreyer and Rosemary Watts in their Valentine Cabaret show celebrating Crazy Relationships: Love's Many Aspects and (suitably) Love on February 11 and 12 at the Kranzberg Center. When Joe and Rosemary hit the stage they started right in without preamble with "Everything I've Got [belongs to you]," by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart. With this first song they set the tone for the night, which was an obvious affection for each other and a joy in singing songs that were special to them.
The good news is, the Kirkwood Theatre Guild's current production of Perfect Wedding is evidence that British Farce (a theatrical force all its own, which is why I put it in caps) is alive. And a fairly new British Farce, mind you, not your usual, reliable blockbusters of Noises Off, Lend Me a Tenor, Run for your Wife, Don't Dress for Dinner, etc. The bad news is, the script for this new incarnation of multiple doors, mistaken identities, absurd and improbable situations, physical pratfalls, British accents, scanty clothing, and sexual hanky panky, isn't as solid as it might be.
As someone who spent her formative years memorizing skits from the British comedy troupe Monty Python, and who celebrated the release of each new Python movie, I was one of those in the audience of Spamalot at the Fox who was speaking words of dialog along with the actors (yes, I heard you others in the dark).
There's something just very simple, and pure, and satisfying about good theatre. A good script, in the hands of capable actors, and with competent technical support, is more rare than one might think. But not so rare that you can't see it now in St. Louis Actors' Studio's current production of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys. Being presented at the intimate Gaslight Theatre in midtown St. Louis, this production is just good theatre. Not perfect theatre, but VERY GOOD theatre.