High Reviewed in this issue.
November Set in the Oval Office on the weekend before Election Day, David Mamet's comedy about the dire state of American politics is outrageous. Mamet isn't his usual nasty self here. Instead he finds humor in futility. He has concocted a classic farce in which slamming doors replace ringing telephones. Between laughs and phone calls, Mamet makes some pungent if sarcastic comments about the perils of American democracy. Director Bobby Miller is fearless in his use of the vest-pocket Gaslight Theatre stage, which almost feels spacious. But it's the inspired work by the ensemble cast, led by Alan Knoll in a bravura portrayal of the delightfully vile President Charles Smith, who makes this an evening to cherish. Produced by St. Louis Actors' Studio through October 24 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue. Tickets are $25 ($20 for students and seniors). Call 314-458-2978 or visit www.stlas.org. — Dennis Brown
Oedipus King First staged in 429 B.C., Sophocles' tragedy about the doomed king who inadvertently killed his father and married his mother is one of the seminal works of world theater, but how often do you get to see it live? Under the direction of Philip Boehm, Upstream Theater is mounting a production that is both regal and — thanks to the informal translation by David R. Slavitt — happily accessible. J. Samuel Davis is commandingly understated in the title role. He receives solid support from, among others, Peter Mayer as the severe Creon and John Bratkowski as a wily beggar. The creative scenic design by Michael Heil gives the illusion that the actors are actually stepping out of the pages of literature. Through October 24 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Boulevard. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students, $20 for seniors). Call 314-863-4999 or visit www.upstreamtheater.org. (DB)
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