St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the St. Louis theater scene

 Also Reviewed
Cats The fact that Cats continues to exist is proof that cats pay no heed to anything humans do, aside from opening cans; if they were aware of it, surely they'd sue for defamation of character, win a bundle and replace us all with small subservient dogs. For, you see, cats, unlike Andrew Lloyd Webber, understand what makes a good story. Despite several songs marred by a ghastly sounding synthesizer, and technical problems with microphones and some stage effects (most of the magic effects in "Mr. Mistoffelees" are mistimed or late), there are a few moments in Suzanne Viverito's production when individual performers rise above Webber's assault on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. The dance company delivers a bracing tap dance for "The Old Gumbie Cat," Ken Page (of course) creates a stately mien and benevolent presence for Old Deuteronomy and Stephanie J. Block as Grizabella wrests the final chorus of "Memory" out of Webber's flaccid paws and makes it a torch song for the abandoned. Through July 25 at the Muny in Forest Park. In addition to the free seats, tickets are $9 to $66. Call 314-361-1900 or visit www.muny.org.
 — Paul Friswold

It Had to Be You Reviewed in this issue.

Promises, Promises Reviewed in this issue.

The Taming of the Shrew Director Todd Pieper dresses up a straightforward production with a few Battle of the Sexes frills — a ring girl opens and closes each act, a bell signals the start of Katherina (Suki Peters) and Petruchio's (Andrew Keller) fights — but the real fun is in the performances. Peters plays Katherina as a smiling wolverine, throwing men around the stage and eliciting shrieks of fear by the mere arch of an eyebrow. Keller plays Petruchio as a dandy cockerel, prone to ludicrous posing but charming nonetheless; his ability to manhandle Peters while lucidly delivering his speeches is a marvel. This brawling pair is ably abetted by Grumio (Joshua Cook), a moon-faced servant of considerable dimness and comic agility. It's a boisterous spectacle, and you won't believe how quickly it passes. Presented by St. Louis Shakespeare through July 25 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students, $20 for seniors). Call 314-361-5664 or visit www.stlshakespeare.org. (PF)

 
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