Capsule Reviews

Dennis Brown and Deanna Jent suss out local theater

As You Like It Shakespeare's popular comedy offers a host of juicy roles: villainous brothers, four sets of lovers, two kinds of clowns. It's a sprawling story that moves from court to forest to a whimsical wedding scene, and this student production at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley benefits from Marie McCool's versatile set and lighting design, which helps the scenic transitions. Scott Martin anchors the production as the melancholy Jacques, delivering the famous "All the world's a stage" monologue with clarity, and Amy Mogelnicki as Celia and Charles Williams Jr. as Charles the Wrestler provide humorous moments. But director Chris Stephens serves up the play seemingly uncut — his choice to leave in many of the now-obscure references often leaves the audience puzzled instead of amused. Free, through February 25 at the Terry M. Fischer Theatre, 3400 Pershall Road, Ferguson. Call 314-513-4488 or visit www.stlcc.edu/fv/theatre.
Deanna Jent

Broken Glass Reviewed in this issue.

Do OverThis series of sketches, performed by five actors and geared to teenagers, addresses hot-button issues like bullying, peer pressure and religious beliefs. Judi Mann's spare script ranges from friendly persuasion to scared straight — there are no subtleties here. But at last weekend's performance the initially resistant teens in the audience ended up rapt. And what a pleasure to see talented actors like Ben Nordstrom and Magan Wiles bringing a sense of conviction to what is essentially instructional theater. The 40-minute presentation is followed by a workshop. Performed by Spotlight T.E.E.N. February 25 at 11 a.m. at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Boulevard. Tickets are $8. Call 314-918-8424 or visit www.spotlighttheatrestlonline.org.
Dennis Brown

Henry IV Shakespeare it ain't, but this new Tom Stoppard version of Luigi Pirandello's play hits on Shakespearean themes: the potential wisdom of insanity and the psychological power of performance. As the mad (or is he?) Henry IV, Andrew Long captivates in the role of a rich Italian gentleman who has been living for the past twenty years as the eleventh-century German king. It's a performance that's funny, scary, melancholy and ruthless — and always believable. Jerry Vogel, Susan Wands and Keith Perry deliver fine supporting performances on Narelle Sisson's magnificent set and director Steven Woolf keeps the 85-minute production stylistically consistent. Unfortunately Woolf can't solve the play's main problem: It takes too long to bring in the main character and kick the play into gear — by which point it seems as if it's over too soon. Through March 10 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $13 to $61 (rush seats available for students and seniors, $8 and $10, respectively, 30 minutes before showtime). Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org.
(DJ)

Relativity Reviewed in this issue.

The Triumph of LoveIn order to put the make on a handsome outcast prince, a plucky princess pretends to be a boy. After her disguise is revealed, she pretends to be a girl in male clothing — which of course she is. Marivaux's eighteenth-century French comedy of deception, seduction and jealousy recently inspired a Broadway musical and a feature film with Mira Sorvino and Ben Kingsley. Alas, the play's humor and charm pretty much elude this student cast, though Michael B. Perkins is deft at mannered comedy and Rebecca Helms as the princess' brash maid is positively insistent that you follow her exposition. Nicely done. Performed by Lindenwood University's theater department through February 25 at the Lindenwood University Cultural Center, 400 North Kingshighway, St. Charles. Tickets are $10 ($8 for seniors, $6 for students). Call 636-949-4878 or visit www.lindenwood.edu.
(DB)

 
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