The Washington University Performing Arts Department production of "Twelfth Night" is a well-acted, well-interpreted production that does a lot to please its audience. The set and lighting design, by Quinlan Maggio and Sean M. Savoie, is simple, location, time and mood are suggested by projected shadows of bar tops and palm trees, as well as simple tables and benches. This simplicity by design helps to keep the long show moving at an enjoyable pace, energizing the actors and ensuring the audience remains engaged.
A clever gear, perhaps a machine of some sort, but represented as a clock, sets the stage for the imaginative and inventive "Unsorted," a children's show from the Metro Theater Company. The actors, in costumes that cleverly represent piles of specific clothing types, are each expressive and emotionally warm. Their colorful garb, broadly emphatic gestures and friendly vocal tones create an inviting, engaging show for young audiences.
The University of Missouri -- St. Louis department of Theatre, Dance and Media Studies brought heart and compassion to their production of "The Laramie Project" April 10 through April 13, 2014. The clarity and voice of the production stood out, and was nicely complemented by the technical design.
Expressing the intimacy of a relationship, and the pain of loss, can be a difficult task for actors. Translating these very personal emotions and character choices from the silver screen to the stage is doubly hard. When songs, choreography and fantastic special effects are added, characters can quickly disappear into the spectacle.
That Uppity Theatre Company and VITAL Voice recently presented their third annual "Briefs:a Festival of Short LGBT Plays" La Perla. The show's run performed to sold out audiences every matinee and evening, a testament to the production's growing popularity and the attention this emerging festival is deservedly attracting.
The New Jewish Theatre's presentation of "The Price" is an artfully staged, well-acted production that fully embraces the essential themes of playwright Arthur Miller. There's layered intention in every line and the cast, with strong, purposeful direction from Bruce Longworth, does an admirable job of navigating the playwright's subtleties and inferences while avoiding excess.
The writers and producers of "We Will Rock You" are bringing down the house at the Fabulous Fox with a fitting tribute to the rock band Queen's enduring popularity that is also an incredibly good time.
Kate Chopin's seminal "The Awakening" is a deeply powerful, ground-breaking novel that explores one woman's emergence as a fully independent self. One of the first works of feminism, it manages to remain fresh and poignantly insightful. In dramatic form, it also presents an opportunity to showcase the talents of an actress capable of playing a character who must express her discontent with the status quo, as well as her awakening passion, with a subtle, nuanced touch.
Adam Rapp's "Red Light Winter" is an exploration of a contemporary love triangle and, frankly, every bit as compelling as a car wreck or sensationalized celebrity crime scene. Watching the play unfold is at times uncomfortable, and occasionally disturbing, but equally compelling.