Macbeth In the hands of director Paul Mason Barnes, this drama about regicide and power lust is revealed as a meditation on the shadowy lives of political figures and the manner is which the public becomes aware of their actions. Michael Ganio's set — a central stage flanked by a blood-red walkway and ringed on three sides by a wall of skewed, upright boards — enhances the sense of secrets leaking out, as Macbeth (Timothy D. Stickney, enthralling and magnetic) and Lady Macbeth (Caris Vujcec, a saturnine beauty with a steel spine) plan and commit multiple murders while faces and figures peek through the slats behind them. Barnes imbues the series of killings with an element of ritual; each is presaged by Macbeth stepping onto that crimson pathway while convincing himself of the rightness of his actions, a single spotlight making the planks — and the would-be king — glow with sanguine fury. Presented by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through March 6 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $15.00 to $70. Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org.
— Paul Friswold
Bobby Miller and Kari Ely in New Jewish Theatre's Sirens.
Ruined The Black Rep is staging a stunningly effective production of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about the brutalization of women during civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although the theme is grim, director Ron Himes keeps the play moving at an edge-of-your-seat pace, and Andrea Frye delivers a towering portrayal of a woman who runs a bar and brothel in a remote rainforest. The ultimate triumph of Ruined is that a story haunted by death and despair also throbs with theatrical life. This is not theater you should feel obligated to see because its themes are "important"; this is theater you don't want to miss because the experience is enthralling. Through March 6 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets are $17 to $47. Call 314-534-3810 or visit www.theblackrep.org.
— Dennis Brown
Sirens Sam and Rose (Bobby Miller, Kari Ely) have been married for 25 years. If the music has left their marriage, the royalties from the hit song Sam wrote about Rose continue to keep them living in style — if you call this living. Sam is trying to write again; Rose yearns to cling to her youth. This fitfully amusing script by Deborah Zoe Laufer strives for unconventionality. At the same time, it adheres to the very conventional formula that in a romantic comedy people wind up together, even when they have nothing in common. So it is that Sam and Rose are doomed to a happy ending, even though there's nothing very cheering about it. Produced by New Jewish Theatre through March 6 at the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus, Creve Coeur. Tickets are $34 to $36. Call 314-442-3283 or visit www.newjewishtheatre.org. (DB)