Sarafina Mbongeni Ngema's raucous, high-energy musical about South African students standing up against apartheid in mid-'70s Soweto gets a thorough workout courtesy of a young and enthusiastic cast. Director Ron Himes and choreographer Keith Tyrone have paced the show so that even when the story falters there's more than enough action to keep your attention. Add a crack band and a luminous performance by Sharisa Whatley as Sarafina and you have one of the most exhilarating evenings to be experienced anywhere in St. Louis. Presented by the Black Rep through September 14 at Washington University's Edison Theatre, 6445 Forsyth Boulevard (in the Mallinckrodt Student Center), University City, and returns September 19-21 at the Orthwein Theatre, 101 North Warson Road, Ladue (on the campus of Mary Institute and Country Day School). Tickets are $25. Call 314-534-3810 or visit www.theblackrep.org. — Paul Friswold
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