In William Mastrosimone's Shivaree, young Chandler Kimbrough thinks of himself as a freak, crippled less by hemophilia than by an overprotective mother. In the recent St. Louis University production, Ben Klein made vivid Chandler's suffering and longing. He also conquered Mastrosimone's attractive but overly literary passages. So did Sarah Woody, who played a man's fantasy of the perfect girlfriend with impressive self-possession. Heidi Waltz also impressed as another male fantasy, the perfect prostitute, and Elizabeth Gimbel showed us the guilt behind the mother's smothering. Director Mark Landis guided his cast to a keen sense of the script's rhythms.
Despite a generally competent production, the Alton Little Theatre failed to enliven the lugubrious To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, a play about a man coming to grips with his wife's accidental death. But I liked the reality young Sarah B. McLaughlin and Laura Mae Hotson gave their teenage characters.
At the St. Louis Family Theatre Series' season finale, the Dallas Children's Theater, despite hollow-sounding mics and a couple of too-elaborate scene changes, found many charming moments in Steven Kellogg's The Island of the Skog.
-- Bob Wilcox