The mood is set for "Double Indemnity" the minute you walk into the theater. Small windows let in rays of eerie white sunlight. A smoky haze swirls above the stage. The terra cotta roof and plastered walls paired with streaks of sunlight makes it unclear as to whether the scene is set inside or outside, during night or day.
"Venus in Fur" is a clever, funny, and slightly creepy piece from David Ives, the master of the ingenious one-act and the inventive historical adaptation. At 100 minutes or thereabouts it may be a bit repetitious in places, but overall it's a classic example of the "well-made play" a la Terrence Rattigan or J.B. Priestly.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis's production of "Sense and Sensibility" is polished and entertaining. The story, adapted from the Jane Austen novel, follows two sisters on their quest to find husbands.
Like its protagonist, Amy Herzog’s comedy/drama “4000 Miles” seems a bit aimless and not really sure of what it wants to be. The cast does fine work and the technical aspects are, as usual, exemplary, but ultimately the emotional stakes in the script aren't high enough to make it more than moderately interesting.
A Gnome for Christmas (Written by Sarah Brandt, Directed by Doug Finlayson) is a Holiday musical now being presented by the Imaginary Theatre Company, the resident, professional, touring ensemble of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
The Rep is kicking off their Ignite! New Play Festival with the impressive world premiere of Ayad Akhtar’s thriller “The Invisible Hand”.
The Rep’s production of Keith Huff’s drama “A Steady Rain” is a classic example of a less than satisfying script turned into compelling theatre by outstanding acting and direction.
Stuart Carden has done consistently excellent work with the Rep, and Circle Mirror Transformation (by 30-year-old Annie Baker)is another in his string of directorial achievements. He and this fine cast make the most out of flawed material. However, the play is mostly worthy, has received critical accolades, some awards, and points toward an eventually brilliant career for Baker.
One of the most appealing aspects of Yazmina Reza’s plays is how readily we see ourselves in her characters. Common to her style is a brief (around 90 minutes) focused look at one thing or event. For example, in Art, it is the painting; in Life x 3, there is a mix-up about the date of the dinner party; in God of Carnage, the characters’ meeting is generated by a playground incident in which one couple’s son smacked the other in the face with a stick and knocked out two of his teeth. What is most remarkable about how quickly we recognize them is that they are created French, then gracefully translated into British and American English by Christopher Hampton.