Capsule Reviews

Dennis Brown, Paul Friswold and Deanna Jent suss out local theater

Menopause The Musical Who knew hormone shifts could be so much fun? An energetic cast of four women "of a certain age" sing and dance their way through parodies of popular '60s and '70s songs whose rewritten lyrics tackle night sweats, memory loss and mood swings. Laura Ackerman has great comic timing in her rendition of "Puff the Magic Dragon," while Rosemary Watts has almost too much fun with her ode to sex toys ("You Are My Destiny"). Rochelle Walker does a great Tina Turner impersonation, and Lee Anne Mathews sings a sultry "Tropical Hot Flash." Designed to amuse and empower women who have "gone through the passage," the show ends with the audience joining the cast for a raucous kick-line celebration. Open-ended run at the Playhouse at West Port Plaza, 635 West Port Plaza (second level), Page Avenue and I-270, Maryland Heights. Tickets are $44.50. Call 314-469-7529 or visit www.playhouseatwestport.com.
Deanna Jent

Insignificant Others: A Love Story James Russell Wax explores the self-inflicted madness of relationships through the characters Richard (Rusty Gunther) and Allie (Meg Rodd) — and Richard's imaginary friend, Sunshine the clown (Emily Strembicki), and Allie's imaginary friend, Dr. Cuddles the bear (Brian Hyde). On paper it sounds a little too precious. But Gunther and Rodd impart enough insecurity and hurt to their characters to make them more than straight men, allowing their relationship to falter into being believably. Strembicki's Sunshine is coarse and delightful, campaigning loudly for an end to her symbiotic relationship with Richard, while Hyde's Dr. Cuddles is a clingy passive-aggressive who refuses to let his creator move on. The third act drags slightly while Richard and Allie discuss love vis-à-vis butterflies (we get it: they're on the verge of bursting forth from their cocoons), but Strembicki and Hyde's silent brawl behind the lovers leavens the excess saccharine in the foreground. Insignificant Others is that rare romantic comedy that will please devotees of the form and thrill those who hate romantic comedies. Produced by Hydeware Theatre through February 25 at the Tin Ceiling, 3159 Cherokee Street. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students and seniors). Call 314-368-7306 or visit www.hydewaretheatre.com.
Paul Friswold



Upcoming A Month in the Country. Webster University Theatre Conservatory presents Ivan Turgenev's dark comedy about lust, peasants and the upper class. Starting Feb. 21, Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 4, $5-$10, call 314-968-7128 for tickets. Loretto-Hilton Center, Emerson Studio Theatre (130 Edgar Rd), Saint Louis, 314-968-4925, www.repstl.org.

Antony and Cleopatra. St. Loius Shakespeare ends its season with this tragedy driven by politics and passion. Starting March 3, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 11, call 314-534-1111 for tickets, www.stlshakespeare.org. Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School, 101 N Warson Rd, Saint Louis, 314-993-5100, www.micds.org/.

Civil Disobediance.Washington University Performing Arts Department presents this new drama by playwright-in-residence Carter Lewis. Starting Feb. 23, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 4, $9-$15. Washington University-A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. (Room 208 of the Mallinckrodt Student Center), Saint Louis.

Crossin' Over. Starting Feb. 15, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 11. Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Sq., St. Louis, 314-534-1834.

Cul-De-Sac. The Midnight Company presents Daniel MacIvor's dark comedy about a dead man in the suburbs. Starting Feb. 22, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through March 10, $10-$15, call 314-487-5305 for tickets. Technisonic Studios, 500 S. Ewing, Saint Louis.

Demons (and Other Blunt Objects). HotCity Theatre's GreenHouse series kicks off with this new play by Dan Rubin. Starting Feb. 22, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through March 4, $12-$15, call 314-289-4060 for info, www.hotcitytheatre.org. Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive St., Saint Louis.

Jesus Hopped the "A" Train. St. Louis Community College-Meramec presents the Stephen Adly Guirgis play. Feb. 21-24, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 25, 2 p.m., call 314-984-7562 for info. St. Louis Community College-Meramec, 11333 Big Bend Rd., Saint Louis, 314-984-7500.

The Odd Couple.Act II Community Theatre presents Neil Simon's comedy about two ill-suited men living as roommates. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Feb. 18, $12-$15, call 1-800-838-3006, www.act2theater.com. St. Peters Community & Arts Center, 1035 St. Peters Howell Rd, O'Fallon, 636-397-6903.

Romeo and Juliet. Clayton Community Theatre presents Shakespeare's classic love story. Starting Feb. 25, First Friday, Saturday of every month, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 4, $12-$15, call 314-721-9228 for info, www.placeseveryone.org. Concordia Seminary Theater, 6501 Clayton Rd, Saint Louis.

Some Americans Abroad. A satire of Americans behaving badly in Europe. Starting Feb. 23, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through March 4, $2-$4, call 314-644-9386 for information. St. Louis Community College-Forest Park-Bastian Center for the Performing Arts, 5600 Oakland Ave., Saint Louis, 314-644-9100.

Standing On My Knees. The Orange Girls present John Olive's drama about a young poet struggling with schizophrenia. Starting Feb. 16, Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 4, $18-$20, call 314-520-9557 for tickets, www.orangegirls.org. Center of Creative Arts, 524 Trinity Ave., University City, 314-725-6555, www.cocastl.org.

Stormy Monday. Soundstage Theatre presents Gregory S. Carr's drama about a troubled African-American family living in 1959 St. Louis. Thu., Feb. 15, 10 a.m.; Fri., Feb. 16, 10 a.m. & 7 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 17, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 18, 2 p.m., $7.50, call 314-968-8070 for tickets. Missouri History Museum, Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave. (Forest Park), St. Louis, 314-454-3150, www.mohistory.org.

The Vagina Monologues. Benefit production of Eve Ensler's play; proceeds go to RAVEN Foundation of St. Louis. Feb. 15-17, 8 p.m., $8-$10. Washington University-Graham Chapel, 6445 Forsyth Blvd., Saint Louis.

The Vagina Monologues. Special performance of Eve Ensler's play. Wed., Feb. 21, 8 p.m., $5. Webster University-Moore Auditorium, 470 E Lockwood Ave., Saint Louis, 314-968-7128.

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