Bus Stop The dated dialogue in William Inge's 1955 romantic comedy about weary travelers trapped in a blizzard at a Kansas diner runs the risk of sounding as rusty as an old time capsule. ("I din' know much about women, 'cause they're different from men.") But in this engaging production directed by Kat Singelton, the actors dive into the script like a piece of lemon meringue pie and by evening's end have the audience eating out of their hands. In the pivotal role of Cherie, the Ozark tart who's trying to escape the clutches of an aggressive Montana cowboy (the engaging Richard Barth) but is really trying to run from her own past, Nell Teare reveals herself an ideal Inge actress. She fills out the spaces between the lines to create a character of indelible, earthy innocence. Performed in repertory through August 29 at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, Missouri. Call 660-837-3311. (DB)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch What's a girly boy to do when his sex-change operation is botched? Form a rock & roll band! Todd Schaefer shows off an amazing voice in this confessional concert piece, which features a kick-ass band and great cross-gender supporting work from Stephanie Brown. After a strangely slow opening, Schaefer's performance savvy kicks in and this Hedwig takes off. Schaefer succeeds with a variety of musical styles -- soulful ballads, funky honky-tonk and metal/ punk noisefests. But the heart of the play is Hedwig's failed love affair with Tommy, and here Schaefer's acting rings true. Playing both Tommy and Hedwig, he creates a fabulous sense of dialogue. A confusing ending clouds an otherwise bright performance: Hedwig seems to have an epiphany, stripping away her wig, makeup and clothes, but the audience is left to guess at what caused her transformation. It's a bit like an Uh-Oh Oreo -- strangely vanilla at both ends, but creamy-licking-good in the middle. Staged by the New Line Theatre and the Washington Avenue Players Project through August 21 at the ArtLoft Theatre, 1529 Washington. Call 314-534-1111. (Deanna Jent)
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