St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

Newly Reviewed
Shirley Valentine All the elements are in place for the perfect chick flick in this one-woman show by Willy Russell: Lonely, unappreciated Shirley (Teresa Doggett) takes a break from her stultifying marriage for a trip to Greece with her girlfriend. An encounter with a sexy foreigner leads her to conclude that it takes two to tango — and two to ignore the music as well. Doggett overcomes a few minor setbacks through an abundance of charm, capturing Shirley's everywoman likability and rekindled enthusiasm for life. Bluntly honest and quick with a quip, she takes dead aim at her own failure to thrive as much as at her husband's lethargy (although he maybe gets it a little worse). Director Edward M. Coffield never lets the protagonist veer into maudlin self-pity, which makes her eventual decision — to live life again rather than merely endure it — both believable and satisfying. Presented by Stray Dog Theatre through May 15 at Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Avenue. Tickets are $20 ($18 for students and seniors). Call 314-865-1995 or visit www.straydogtheatre.org.
— Paul Friswold

Ongoing
Tartuffe Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Wilbur's translation of Molière's classic comedy about deception, seduction and the perils of extremism is itself a classic adaptation. The lilt of Wilbur's rhymed couplets musicalizes the evening. The verses are also often hilarious. In the title role of an audacious con man who has intruded himself into the family of a dupe, Gary Wayne Barker and Tartuffe are a combination of actor and role waiting to combust. The wily Barker so revels in his charlatanism, it's no surprise that, like his victims onstage, by evening's end everyone in the audience becomes "Tartuffe-ified" — thus providing an evening of sustained merriment. Performed by Mustard Seed Theatre through May 9 at the Fontbonne University Fine Arts Center Theatre, 6800 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton. Tickets are $20 to $30 ($15 for students and seniors). Call 314-719-8060 or visit www.mustardseedtheatre.com.
— Dennis Brown
 
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