St. Louis Actors' Studio opens its ninth season with a show that mines the insecurities, frustrations and sexual tension between a group of young writers. The smartly written script is complemented by solid performances from the ensemble and well-executed, if not always surprising, plot twists.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis brings history to life with the engrossing "All the Way," a fascinating look at the early years of Lyndon Baines Johnson's presidency. Strong, realistically portrayed characterizations and a brisk, determined pace that seems to mirror Johnson's energy and style ensure the show is wholly entertaining throughout.
In R-S Theatrics current show, after the failure of the power grid the near future is a bleak, electricity-less dystopia. The show starts as drama and slowly evolves through three acts into a musical mythology about the past based on pop culture, particularly the television series "The Simpsons." The strong cast, with sure-handed direction from Christina Rios, handles the transitions well, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshingly different production.
Mustard Seed Theatre presents a compelling and captivating interpretation of Jessica Dickey's deeply affecting and powerful play. The story is part recollection, part reflection and focuses on the death of several young Amish girls at the hands of a psychologically disturbed man as well as its impact on both the Amish and surrounding community.
Insight Theatre Company's production of Rebecca Gilman's thought-provoking play, "Spinning Into Butter," takes a look at race relations at a predominantly white college located in Vermont. Sarah Daniels, an admissions specialist, has been hired by Belmont College to help increase the school's student diversity, particularly through encouraging those designated as "minority" students to attend, and stay, at the college.
The second half of St. Louis Actors' Studio's "LaBute New Theater Festival," hits another high note. The five plays presented examine the nature of human relationships, and the dances we go through in order to start and preserve those that are significantly important to each of us.
If there's one thing the Midnight Company's artistic director and principle actor Joe Hanrahan knows, it's how to find and interpret interesting characters with good stories to tell. The remarkable part about this is that Hanrahan has been creating these characters for several years and still manages to find ways to make each character a unique individual, with quirks, mannerisms and opinions aplenty to share. In the company's production of Conor McPherson's "St. Nicholas," running through July 26, 2015, Hanrahan has discovered another persuasively imperfect story to embrace.
The fourth year of St. Lou Fringe Festival, is a celebration of performing arts featuring more than 100 shows and events. This year the festival expanded over two weekends, with creative workshops and parties offered during the days the theaters were dark. And, in the reviewer's opinion, this is not merely good for the Fringe, this is a great step for St. Louis theater and arts.
Act Inc., now in its 35th season, promotes itself as one of only three companies in the country dedicated to "reviving the lost gems of theatre history." The company seeks out and produces lesser-known works by famous authors as well as revival productions of once popular plays. Their two show summer season includes Woody Allen's "Play It Again Sam," and "Love from a Stranger," written by Dame Agatha Christie, as adapted by Frank Vosper.
Gitana Production's "Black and Blue" is a thought provoking, well-acted and strongly worded play that stirs discussion in an attempt to create a fuller, more varied and nuanced understanding of racial conflict, not only in St. Louis but across America. The company makes an effort to present well-developed stories and characters, and this play, presented in a series of short sketches and brief monologues, creates context through an overlapping and ongoing dialogue.