St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

Emma Reviewed in this issue.

A Fire as Bright as Heaven Reviewed in this issue.

Hair Hair is not so much a musical with a defined plot and clearly motivated characters as it is an invocation, a sort of vision quest designed to shake you out of your torpor and make you think. This truly ensemble show features some standout individual performances, such as Zachary Allen Farmer's side-splitting rendition of "My Conviction" while in drag as the tourist lady. But under Scott Miller's direction, this Hair is at its best when the entire tribe sings, the New Line Band is rocking and the audience forgets this is a play and not a concert — and that happens several times. Presented by New Line Theatre through October 18 at the Washington University South Campus Theatre, 6501 Clayton Road, Clayton. Tickets are $15 to $20 ($10 to $15 for students and seniors). Call 314-773-6526 or visit www.newlinetheatre.com. — Paul Friswold

Primal Conceived by Pamela Reckamp, Primal explores Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid through Viewpoints, a movement-based actor's training technique. The result, staged by the Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, is a performance that's more modern dance than traditional play — it's also a little bit like watching a talented pianist play scales for an hour. For a non-dancer, non-actor viewer, there isn't much to latch onto here. Without a program telling me there's a progression from piece to piece, I doubt I would have found it myself. A piece like "Sex" is obvious enough — eight women simulating various sexual acts to George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" is far from subtle — but the story or connection to the audience is lost. The performers, however, are having a great time, clearly enjoying the exercise. Through October 18 at the Chapel, 201 South Skinker Boulevard. Tickets are $15. Call 314-835-7415 or visit www.slightlyoff.org. (PF)

 
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