Back of the Throat In an unidentified large city, two out-of-control government interrogators arrive at the modest apartment of a young Arab American writer. He is questioned, then terrorized and finally violated. Written by Arab American playwright Yussef El Guindi, Back of the Throat is a rare drama that strives to capture the tinderbox mood of post-9/11 America from the Arab point of view. The play is most effective when it focuses on the interrogation; the production is especially notable for its moving performance from Alan David as the naive young victim. Produced by St. Louis Actors' Studio through April 12 at the Gaslight Theater, 356 North Boyle Avenue. Tickets are $25 ($18 for students and seniors). Call 314-458-2978 or visit www.stlas.org.
— Dennis Brown
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson's oft-told tale about dual personality and the nature of good and evil receives a curious new spin from playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. Here almost everyone onstage except the actor who plays Dr. Henry Jekyll (Anthony Marble) takes a crack at Jekyll's demonic alter ego, Edward Hyde. Thus a story about transformation does not allow its title character's actor to engage in said transformation. As if that weren't strange enough, an oppressive pall hangs over the staging. Produced by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through April 12 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $16.50 to $65 (rush seats available for students and seniors, $10 and $15, respectively, 30 minutes before showtime). Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org. (DB)
My Secret Language of Wishes Vanika Spencer renders a sensitive and poignant portrayal of a disabled, seizure-prone African American child at the center of a custody dispute. But the script by Cori Thomas that begins as a potential courtroom drama keeps changing focus until finally it ends up spinning its wheels and going nowhere. Act One, when the exposition is laid out, is not without interest. But Act Two, which puts the custody fight on the back burner to dwell instead on an attorney's lesbian relationship, is strictly for those who enjoy watching actresses impersonate waterworks. Through April 19 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets are $17 to $43. Call 314-534-3810 or visit www.theblackrep.org. (DB)
The Ugly One Reviewed in this issue.