And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little Reviewed in this issue.
The Clean House A description of the plot, which concerns two sisters, one philandering husband and a maid who prefers telling jokes to dusting shelves, doesn't begin to capture the imagination that pervades Sarah Ruhl's dreamlike comedy-drama, The Clean House. Ruhl sees things that most of us overlook; she assembles words in ways that no one has thought to say before. Even when she's dealing with sorrow, her play is upheld by a light touch and a generous disposition. Performed by The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through November 11 at the Emerson Studio in the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $39-$50 (rush tickets available for students and seniors, $8 and $10 respectively, 30 minutes before showtime). Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org. — Dennis Brown
Corleone: The Shakespearean Godfather The NonProphet Theater Company is making you an offer you can't refuse — again. Which is to say that if you did refuse the opportunity to see this Bard-styled treatment of Francis Ford Coppola's iconic 1972 film on its first go-round last month, you now have another opportunity to enjoy the family chronicles of the Corleone clan. Michael, Fredo, Sonny and the Don himself are all eager to joust through their briskly paced evening of mayhem, much of it, forsooth, in Elizabethan-style verse. Through November 18 at the Ivory Theatre, 7622 Michigan Avenue. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students and seniors). Call 314-752-5075 or visit www.nptco.org. (DB)
The Curious Savage Somewhere in the slow-moving first act of Clayton Community Theatre's production of John Patrick's The Curious Savage, wealthy and widowed would-be actress Ethel Savage (Jeanne Seibel) recounts the Wall Street Journal's review of her one speaking role: "She has a tenacious mediocrity unhampered by taste." Tenacious mediocrity sums up the whole of The Curious Savage. No one actor is truly bad, but after more than two hours of this, concepts of good and bad are moot. Mrs. Savage is confined to an institution by her greedy stepchildren because of her unusual behavior. Seibel plays Savage with a steady keel — there's nothing remarkable about her. Some laughs should come from the other patients, but they don't; the jokes are in the script, but nothing in Joseph Wegescheide's lackluster direction or the cast's yeoman-like performances brings them to life. Through November 11 at the Concordia Seminary theater, 6501 Clayton Road, Clayton. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students and seniors). Call 314-721-9228 or visit www.placeseveryone.org.
— Paul Friswold
The Drowsy Chaperone Reviewed in this issue.
Return of the Bedbug Philip Boehm's exercise in farce and subversive wit piles ridiculous events atop surreal occurrences in an attempt to seduce the audience into a greater awareness of the strangeness of modern American life. Prisypkin (J. Samuel Davis), a hustler who falls into suspended animation in the mid-'80s Soviet Union, awakens in 2007 in St. Louis. The land of opportunity is in theory a perfect hunting ground for the opportunistic Prisypkin; Davis plays the good-time Soviet with a gleeful relish that slowly gives way to misgivings about just how much freedom the land of the free allows. Boehm's direction is marvelous, a symphony of point and counterpoint that builds to a shattering climax. Presented by Upstream Theatre through November 11 at Forsyth School Theater, 305 South Skinker Boulevard. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students, $18 for seniors). Call 314-863-4999 or visit www.upstreamtheater.org. (PF)
Veil of Silence Back from the war in Iraq, Aaron (Andrew Michael Neiman) is having difficulty adjusting to suburban family life. His kids' violent video games horrify him, he doesn't want to leave the sofa and he can't tell his wife, Amy (Natasha Toro) why it is he's not ecstatic to be back in her loving arms. An anti-war polemic that examines the emotional and psychological toll of combat, Veil of Silence is most effective when operating on the bedrock level of people attempting to communicate the unimaginable horrors of war. It falters, however, when polemic substitutes for drama. Toro's portrayal of Amy is undercut somewhat by the script, as she's used mostly as a sounding board for Aaron's turmoil. As Alia, an Iraqi librarian, Toro is much better, a fully realized person whose hope outpaces her fear — for the moment. Presented by Veterans for Peace through November 11 at the Black Cat Theatre, 2810 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students, seniors and veterans). Call 314-315-5129 or visit www.insteadofwar.org. (PF)