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St. Louis Stage Capsules 

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

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Falling Deanna Jent's "you are there" portrayal of parenting an autistic teenager is starkly terrifying, laugh-out-loud funny and emotionally draining. And yet you leave feeling optimistic and energized — blame it on the power of Mom. Tami and Bill Martin (Michelle Hand and Greg Johnston) are a powerhouse team who successfully negotiate, cajole and refocus their eighteen-year-old son, Josh (Jonathan Foster) — and that's merely to get him to school on time. With him gone they're a mess, arguing about each other's parenting decisions and who's following the household rules (set by Tami) and who's rewriting them as the mood strikes (also Tami). Johnston plays Greg as a devoted father trying his best, but for Tami anything less than total commitment to Josh is criminal neglect. Hand gives a memorable performance as a mother who has put so much of herself into raising her son that there's not much left for her; hers is a blood-and-guts turn that will leave you breathless. Foster's transformation is similarly impressive, as he creates a character who is alien, remote and undeniably real. Presented by Mustard Seed Theatre under the direction of Lori Adams through September 24 at the Fontbonne University Fine Arts Center Theatre, 6800 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton. Tickets are $25 ($20 for students and seniors). Call 314-719-8060 or visit www.mustardseedtheatre.com. — Paul Friswold

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