American Odyssey: Lewis & Clark Historyonics speeds us along the explorers' trail with energetic scenes of white-water rapids, pursuits of prairie dogs and Christmas dance celebrations, performed by an excellent cast of actors and musicians. John Flack moves easily from fun drinking songs to haunting ballads. Christopher Hickey and R. Travis Estes play Lewis and Clark, with Magan Wiles as Sacagawea. John White Antelope and Tommy Martin add excellent Native American flute and fiddle music. The play bogs down when the expedition does, in repetitive scenes of translated discussions with various Indian chiefs. But it ends on a nicely ironic note -- while the members of the expedition rejoice in their success, the Native Americans sense the impending doom of the future. Look for a series of fun period hats provided by costumer Michele Siler. Presented by Historyonics through May 9 at the Des Lee Auditorium in the Missouri History Museum, corner of DeBaliviere Avenue and Lindell Boulevard. Call 314-361-5858. (DJ)
No Exit Reviewed in this issue.
Pretty Fire Reviewed in this issue.
Red Herring It's 1952, a chilling time of blacklists and political witch hunts. In Michael Hollinger's play, even as the insidious McCarthy hearings are airing on TV, Senator Joe's promiscuous teenage daughter is enlisted by a Communist agent to transport top-secret microfilm cross-country -- in a block of Velveeta? You gotta be kidding! This loony-tunes comedy reduces Cold War America to a one-dimensional backdrop for a barrage of quips and gags inspired by the era's movies and TV shows. The fractured plot is a Mixmaster blend of murder, espionage and romance, delightfully performed. Lavonne Byers, Chopper Leifheit, Terry Meddows and Stellie Siteman head a sparkling cast of nine. Under the direction of RFT theater critic Deanna Jent, all the elements conspire to deliver an evening of unalloyed zaniness. Performed by HotHouse Theatre Company through May 1 at the ArtLoft Theatre, 1529 Washington Avenue. Call 314-534-1111. (DB)