Leslie Denniston deserves all the affection Muny audiences gave her last week as Anna in Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I. Though a less complex portrayal, Richard Muenz's king made a fine partner for her in a smooth, conventional but thoroughly enjoyable production. The King and I production at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, which continues through this weekend, also follows the traditional staging but includes a couple of numbers dropped by the Muny. Less professionally polished, of course, the SIU-Edwardsville performers play with confident pleasure. Director J. Calvin Jarrell shapes the end of scenes with care, something that Paul Blake, his counterpart at the Muny, occasionally fails to do.
With Twelve Angry Jurors, a coed stage version of Reginald Rose's well-made teleplay Twelve Angry Men, TheatrGROUP showcases the work of Harry Governick's acting students. Isolated moments display lessons well learned, but the show's flabby pacing suggests the group hasn't yet studied ensemble playing.