St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene.

And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little Time has not been kind to Paul Zindel's thin 1971 play about three alienated sisters, which is receiving an understandably rare revival. Set in an apartment in Queens, New York, this script about the Reardon girls – one caustic, another uptight and the third mad as the proverbial hatter – is straight out of Playwriting 101: laughs up front, yelling at the end. But we don't ever learn much of anything about this unholy triad. Maybe it's all Chekhov's fault. He made it look so easy. The good doctor C spawned a genre of family chronicles by playwrights who think they too can make absorbing drama out of the ephemeral bonds of sisterhood. Suffice to say, Miss Reardon is no Three Sisters. Performed by Stray Dog Theatre through November 17 at the Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Avenue. Tickets are $18 ($15 for students and seniors). Call 314-865-1995 or visit www.straydogtheatre.org. 

– Dennis Brown

And Then There Were None The set design by Roger Speidel is great fun. This cozy living room on an island villa would be a charming place to visit. But wait a minute. That stone fireplace looks familiar. Where did we see a stone fireplace similar to this before? Of course! A few seasons back in the Rep production of Agatha Christie's dreary thriller Ten Little Indians. Could it be? It sure could. This is the very same tale about a rogue's gallery of misfits that's been summoned for execution. The biggest mystery here is why Christie needed so many different titles for the same dull play. But the set is terrific. Performed by the Alton Little Theater through November 18 at the Alton Little Theater, 2450 North Henry Street, Alton, Illinois. Tickets are $14 ($6 for students). Call 618-462-6562 or visit www.altonlittletheater.org. (DB)

Corleone: The Shakespearean Godfather The NonProphet Theater Company is making you an offer you can't refuse — again. Which is to say that if you did refuse the opportunity to see this Bard-styled treatment of Francis Ford Coppola's iconic 1972 film on its first go-round last month, you now have another opportunity to enjoy the family chronicles of the Corleone clan. Michael, Fredo, Sonny and the don himself are all eager to joust through their briskly paced evening of mayhem, much of it, forsooth, in Elizabethan-style verse. Through November 18 at the Ivory Theatre, 7622 Michigan Avenue. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students and seniors). Call 314-752-5075 or visit www.nptco.org. (DB)

Fat Pig Neil LaBute's Fat Pig is an attack on the American ideals of beauty, with the nascent relationship between regular-guy Tom (Drew Pannebecker) and plus-size librarian Helen (Jessica Justine Girard) serving as both the development of LaBute's argument and the weapon that carries out the attack. The two meet, begin to fall in love and then society – Tom's office frenemy Carter (Andrew Bayer) and former flame Jeannie (Angela Sebben) – reminds the would-be lovers that fat people are neither desirable nor worthy of love. LaBute's story is a tough one, and his dialogue is bare-knuckle. And while David A. Lane gets some good performances from his college-age actors, for the majority of the evening the cast seems unwilling to deliver the killing blows with real venom. Only Sebben delivers a truly ruthless performance, burning Tom with a scathing glance in an early scene and incinerating him in their final argument. Sebben's finest moment is no high-octane bit of histrionics, however: A shocked and awkward smile flits over her face but never touches her eyes when she finally meets Helen. It's the first genuinely uncomfortably moment in a play that should be rife with them. Presented by St. Louis Community College-Meramec Theatre through November 17 at the Meramec Theatre, 11333 Big Bend Road (on the Meramec campus), Kirkwood. Admission is free. Call 314-984-7564 or visit www.stlcc.edu/mc/dept/theatre.

– Paul Friswold

Hedda Gabler Reviewed in this issue.

Measure for Measure Reviewed in this issue.

Skylight Kyra (Renee Sevier-Monsey) is a teacher living in a frigid London flat. One night Tom (Robert Ashton) barges into her life after a three-year absence with a bottle of whiskey and a need to talk. It sounds flimsy to the point of being ephemeral, but David Hare's Skylight is a raw and bracing visit to the cramped spaces of the human heart. Sevier-Monsey has a warmth and generosity of spirit that seems incompatible with Ashton's oblivious self-confidence. Though Tom is incapable of talking about anything but himself, Ashton imbues his character with gruff charm and a not-quite hidden softness. The two circle one another like duelists, pinking away at the other's armor until they're both utterly exposed. Kyra's pained expression at this moment of epiphany is matched by Tom's victorious smile, which then breaks when he realizes what he's done. And we're not quite at intermission. The final scene seems incongruous with what passed before it, but such is life. Presented by West End Players Guild through November 18 at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 North Union Boulevard. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students and seniors). Call 314-367-0025 or visit www.westendplayers.org. (PF)

 
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