Hedwig and the Angry Inch Trashy, tabloid-touted transsexual Hedwig Schmidt took a long time to get to St. Louis. But having finally arrived, now it's as if we can't get rid of her. Now we get Hedwig on tour: four more performances at four different venues. But Hedwig for Halloween weekend sounds like a time bomb just waiting to explode. Performed by Vanity Theatre October 28 at 10:30 p.m. at AMP: Alternative Music Pub, 4199 Manchester Avenue; October 29 at 10:30 p.m. at the Hi Pointe, 1001 McCausland Avenue; October 30 at 11:30 p.m. at McGee's, 4500 Clayton Road; and finally, for those who like their theater a little earlier than the witching hour, a Halloween matinee October 31 at 3:30 p.m. at Cicero's, 6691 Delmar Boulevard in University City. Call 314-481-4413. (Dennis Brown)
Talley's Folly Forget the fact that this World War II-era romance is set in the Missouri Ozarks under a bucolic Fourth of July moon. There's nothing bucolic about Lanford Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play. His writing is tough and sad, and it requires the viewer's close attention. Beneath the surface humor, this account of how a Jewish lawyer from St. Louis won the reluctant hand of a former WASP cheerleader actually tells a tale of the terrors of loneliness. But the cast brings a focus to the story that reveals Talley's Folly to be not so much an actors' showcase as a two-character play about two needy characters. Performed by New Jewish Theater through October 31 at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur. Call 314-442-3283. (DB)
Twelfth Night Think "Shakespeare meets Bruce Springsteen" and you'll understand director Edward Stern's concept, which plays out marvelously on Joseph P. Tilford's watery scenic design. The singing fool Feste (a blue-jeaned Kevin Orton) functions as emcee and stage manager for this comedy of mistaken identities and mismatched lovers. Stern's attention to character detail, beautiful stage pictures and true appreciation for Shakespeare's humor make this production a truly tasty treat. Served up by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through November 12 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Call 314-968-4925. (Deanna Jent)
The Woman in Black Richard Strelinger is marvelous in this slow-moving ghost story, taking on a handful of roles. We get lots of familiar spooky themes: a haunted house, revenge, dead children, a town afraid to talk about the horror and -- of course -- a ghostly woman dressed in black. Adapted from a novel by Susan Hill, the play features too many descriptions of the environment and not enough dramatic interplay between characters. Director John Shepherd moves the actors nimbly around the awkward platforms, but this production suffers from its cramped quarters. If you're a fan of old-fashioned thrillers and can endure the stop-and-start flow of the piece, you'll be satisfied by the "gotcha" ending and the eerie self-propelled rocking chair. Through October 31 at the Soulard Theatre, 1921 South Ninth Street. Call 314-368-7306. (DJ)
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