Thursday, 14 September 2017 22:35

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of September 15, 2017

Written by 
"Blow, Winds" at the library "Blow, Winds" at the library Photo by J. David Levy

New shows from The Rep, the Black Rep, and Shakespeare Festival are on this list this week.

New This Week:


Playwright Nancy Bell

The Shakespeare Festival St. Louis presents Blow, Winds, an adaptation by Nancy Bell of Shakespeare's King Lear, Friday through Sunday at 8 p.m., September 15 - 17. "During our frequent conversations with residents this past year, we heard many stories about their love for St. Louis and the pride they have in their neighborhoods. But we also heard about their frustration with problems that seem to be ingrained not only in our city but throughout the world including, inequality, injustice, and violence. This project sheds light on what there is to celebrate in our city, while still acknowledging the problems we all face. Our fate belongs to one another." Performances take place on the steps of the St. Louis Public Library at 13th and Olive, downtown. The library will be closed for the event. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own chairs and sit in the closed street or the adjacent park. For more information: sfstl.com.

My take: What's not to like about free Shakespeare at the library? Nancy Bell's adaptations of the Bard's classics have been widely praised in the past, so there's no reason to assume this won't be worth your time. And the Shakespeare in the Streets initiative has been justifiably seen as a great example of theatrical outreach.


The Curious Incident of the
Dog in the Night-Time

Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents the drama The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time throiugh October 1. "The 2015 Tony Award winner for Best Play, The Curious Incident is an immersive adventure that puts audiences in the shoes of 15-year-old sleuth Christopher. He's a brilliant young man, but struggles to process everyday information. Suspected of killing his neighbor's dog, Christopher journeys into London to track down the true culprit. But can he withstand the sensory overload of the big city?" Performances take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: repstl.org.

My take: Critics have been mining their stock of superlatives for this show. At KDHX, for example, Tina Farmer calls it "a spectacular theatre experience." Steve Allen at Stage Door St. Louis says it's a "beautiful, powerful and heart-wrenching experience," while Judy Newmark at the Post-Dispatch praises the "fluid, crystal-clear production." I could go on, but you get the idea. The title, FYI, comes from the Sherlock Homes story Silver Blaze, and refers to the importance of something that didn't happen as a clue in a murder case.


Dot
Photo: Phil Hamer

The Black Rep presents the St. Louis premiere of the comedy/drama Dot through September 24. "In DOT, Dotty Shealey and her three grown children are gathering once more for the holidays at the Shealey house (always a wild affair there.) But this year, there's more to deal with than exchanging gifts. Dotty is struggling to hold onto her memory, while her children are fighting to balance care for their mother and for themselves. Warm, funny and touching, DOT grapples unflinchingly with aging parents and midlife crises in the heart of a West Philly neighborhood." Performances take place at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: theblackrep.org.

My take: When I first saw this play in the spring of 2015 at the Humana Festival, I wrote that the combination of script, acting, and direction was so perfect that it just blew me away. The Black Rep's production appears to be doing it justice. "Ron Himes directs the show with compassion and finesse as well as a keen sense of comedy," writes Tina Farme at KDHX, "mining every line for every layer of meaning. The cast responds marvelously, keeping pace with the constantly shifting tone and building tension." This is a plays that deals with a serious issue in a funny and yet compassionate manner. Playwright Colman Domingo's characters are all fully fleshed out and his portrayal of the effects of dementia on both Dotty and her family is vividly real. As someone who had a parent that went through this, I speak from experience. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in Dot, as well as many that call for a hanky. Be prepared.

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