Kirkwood Theater Guild satisfies fans of period romantic comedy with the stylishly predictable "Enchanted April," by Matthew Barber. Set in 1922, the show introduces Lottie Wilton and Rose Arnott, two English housewives afflicted with a deep malaise. Both notice an advertisement offering an Italian castle for rent during the upcoming month of April, and the two indulge in a bit of daydreaming together. Lottie impulsively places a deposit on the castle, then lures Rose in by finding two female companions to split the costs for their stay.
Set in 1929, First Run Theatre's "The Other Side," by local playwright David Hawley, is a clever period piece that uses the era's heightened interest in spirituality to deliver a intriguing dose of comic suspense. The show introduces audiences to Ph.D. students and burgeoning conmen Stan Ramsbottom and Kevin Kelly, who decide to finance their continuing education by masquerading as spiritualist, a psychic or medium with the ability to communicate with the dead, and his sidekick.
What does it mean to be a Jewish millennial in America in the twenty-first century? And who decides, or how does one decide, if you are a "good Jew" or a "bad Jew"? In the New Jewish Theatre's production "Bad Jews," these questions confront three cousins, Daphna and brothers Liam and Jonah. They are together for their grandfather's Shiva, a week-long period of mourning and contemplation following the funeral of a close family member. The three must decide which one of them will become the owner of their grandfather's "chai" necklace.
Theater patrons looking for an alternative to traditional holiday shows and musicals have a number of interesting options this year, including the campy and over-the-top "Devil Boys from Beyond." Stray Dog Theatre's seasonal offering, the crisp, quick paced show is a mash up of science fiction and romantic comedy with abundant laughs, quirky characters, compromising situations, and a retro feel. To keep with the season, there's also and uplifting ending and genuine, positive messages about sexuality, gender roles, and acceptance.
The New Jewish Theatre opens its nineteenth season with the Neil Simon comedy "The Sunshine Boys," a sweet tribute to the era of vaudeville that's also an honest look at aging in an American culture increasingly focused on youth. Engaging performances and a pleasantly amusing script ensure this show is entertaining even for audiences with no recollection of the uniquely American variety of entertainment known as vaudeville.
St. Louis Shakespeare adds another feather to its brightly decorated cap with their thoroughly enjoyable, visually and emotionally satisfying production of Shakespeare's beloved romantic comedy, "Twelfth Night."
The set-up is simple. Thomas, a theater director, has been holding auditions for the play he's written. He's on the phone complaining about the women who've read for the lead female role — not good, not smart.
St. Louis Shakespeare aims for a comic bulls-eye with James McLure's played-for-laughs wild west interpretation of favorite Shakespearean tropes. "Wild Oats" is a rollicking good send up, and a gloriously over-the-top production that encourages the audience to laugh, hoot, boo, and holler along with the amiable cast.
Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble takes audiences back to the age of the great plague in "One Flea Spare," Naomi Wallace's darkly comic, emotionally intense morality play. The script is layered with interesting plots and subplots, and the language teases and dances with colorful, pointed dialogue and a surprising psychological complexity.
St. Louis Shakespeare brings "The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler" to life in a fantastic tale filled with "what ifs," "why nots," and a few wistful insights delivered in richly varied characters and imaginative situations.