Fool for Love John Pierson gives a charged performance in Sam Shepard's explosive drama about dysfunctional families, obsessive love and the mysterious nature of memory. In a dingy motel room (the Rep's Bug set serendipitously moved to the Theatre at St. John's), Pierson's Eddie grapples with his obsessive love for May (Patty Ulrich), memories of his father, a jealous former lover intent on revenge and a bottle of tequila. Thrown into the volatile mix is May's new friend Martin (William Roth), an innocent caught in the mess of Eddie and May's tempestuous relationship. Director Jerry McAdams uses the space well, literally bouncing the characters off the walls and rolling them on the floor. All the actors give focused performances, but the show belongs to Pierson, whose mercurial shifts from passionate to playful capture the essence of Shepard. Presented by Muddy Waters Theatre through December 11 at the Theatre at St. John's, St. John's United Methodist Church, 5000 Washington Place (at Kingshighway). Tickets are $16 ($13 for students and seniors). Call 314-540-7831 or visit www. muddywaterstheatre.com. (Deanna Jent)
The Memory of Water A tale of three sisters planning their mother's funeral that's alternately melodramatic, sincere and chaotic; that it won an Olivier award for best comedy demonstrates that English humor is truly a mysterious thing. Playwright Shelagh Stephenson crams enough material for several plays into this one: secrets revealed, love affairs ended, loads of attention to the quixotic nature of memory. C.J. Merriman as middle sister Mary solidly handles the twists and turns of Stephenson's script, but in general this Webster University production falls short in making the impulsive actions of the characters believable. Though director Andrea Urice at times manages to pin down this slippery show, the frantic pacing of several scenes makes the dialogue unintelligible. Through December 11 at Stage III (in Webster Hall), 470 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students, seniors and Webster alumni; free for Webster students and staff). Call 314-968-7128 or visit www.webster.edu. (DJ)
The Merchant of Venice Reviewed in this issue.