Arts & Culture » Theater

St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

by and

Newly Reviewed
Evil Dead: The Musical Reviewed in this issue.

High Reviewed in this issue.

Another Home Invasion Joan MacLeod's one-woman show about a senior citizen attempting to navigate Canada's social-service system so she and her stroke-damaged husband, Alec, can land in the Shriners' Home together features much discursive storytelling. Think a female Andy Rooney discussing his medical problems for 75 minutes, with brief flashes of drama. Jean (Donna Weinsting) is something of a martyr, suffering with grudging Canadian patience her daughter and granddaughter's busy lives and the helpful woman from health services who won't (or maybe can't) just shift her and Alec to the home. Weinsting makes the most of those few dramatic flashes, creating the tension of a late-night burglary through her voice and some efficient movements. But for a play with such a slow burn, you expect something more than continued slow burning till the lights go out. Presented by Echo Theatre Company through October 24 at Theatre 134 in Crestwood Court ArtSpace (Watson and Sappington roads), Crestwood. Tickets are $20 ($15 for seniors; students two for $20 at the door). Call 314-225-4329 or visit www — Paul Friswold

November Set in the Oval Office on the weekend before Election Day, David Mamet's comedy about the dire state of American politics is outrageous. Mamet isn't his usual nasty self here. Instead he finds humor in futility. He has concocted a classic farce in which slamming doors replace ringing telephones. Between laughs and phone calls, Mamet makes some pungent if sarcastic comments about the perils of American democracy. Director Bobby Miller is fearless in his use of the vest-pocket Gaslight Theatre stage, which almost feels spacious. But it's the inspired work by the ensemble cast, led by Alan Knoll in a bravura portrayal of the delightfully vile President Charles Smith, who makes this an evening to cherish. Produced by St. Louis Actors' Studio through October 24 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue. Tickets are $25 ($20 for students and seniors). Call 314-458-2978 or visit — Dennis Brown

Oedipus King First staged in 429 B.C., Sophocles' tragedy about the doomed king who inadvertently killed his father and married his mother is one of the seminal works of world theater, but how often do you get to see it live? Under the direction of Philip Boehm, Upstream Theater is mounting a production that is both regal and — thanks to the informal translation by David R. Slavitt — happily accessible. J. Samuel Davis is commandingly understated in the title role. He receives solid support from, among others, Peter Mayer as the severe Creon and John Bratkowski as a wily beggar. The creative scenic design by Michael Heil gives the illusion that the actors are actually stepping out of the pages of literature. Through October 24 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Boulevard. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students, $20 for seniors). Call 314-863-4999 or visit (DB)