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Capsule Reviews 

Dennis Brown and Deanna Jent suss out local theater

Disturbing the Peace Some people regard the theater as a place of mystery. But there's nothing mysterious about playwriting. It is a craft that can be taught and learned. The most unsparing thing to be said about Christopher Jackson's evening of seven mostly sketchy one-acts is that there's simply nothing here. The scripts are hampered by clunky foreshadowing and surprises that don't surprise. Did Jackson have something he wanted to say? If so, he doesn't say it. If not, then why write it? Obviously, when you write, direct and appear in your own play, a certain amount of ego is involved. But ego is no substitute for an understanding of structure and a voice. Performed through May 21 at the SPOT Theatre, 4146 Manchester Avenue. Tickets are $15. Call 314-371-1330. (Dennis Brown)

Driving Miss Daisy A dream cast -- Diane Peterson, Dennis Lebby and Gary Wayne Barker -- delivers a competent, if unmemorable, rendition of this 1988 Pulitzer Prize winner about the relationship between an aging Atlanta dowager and the black chauffeur her son foists upon her. There's nothing overtly wrong with this production; it's just that too many of the play's simple truths come across as simplistic homilies. One senses that director Edward Coffield did not push his actors -- or his designers -- to excavate the material as deeply as they're capable of. The result is highly watchable, but it's all a little too cutesy-quaint for its own good. Performed by the New Jewish Theatre through May 28 at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus, Creve Coeur. Tickets are $20-$22 ($2 off for JCC members). Call 314-442-3283. (DB)

Jack and Jill Reviewed in this issue.

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