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Friday, December 21, 2012

TALLEY'S FOLLY • New Jewish Theatre

Talley's Folly, written in 1979 by Lanford Wilson, takes a look at the reunion of an unlikely couple -- a Jewish accountant and a small town girl from Lebanon, Missouri.

It's 1944, and Matt Friedman (Shaun Sheley) has travelled from St. Louis to Lebanon, MO to seek out Sally Talley (Meghan Maguire) -- a woman with whom he had had a little Summertime dalliance with a year before.  Matt charmingly begins the play, addressing the audience and setting the stage for us.  The story itself is relatively simple.  In the process of reconnecting with each other and overcoming the prejudices of the 40's, and their own vulnerable isolation, we learn about Matt and his determination to see Sally again along with his family's painful past.  An initially chilly Sally also eventually reveals her past as the intended wife in a financially honorable match, and how that unfortunately went down in flames.  They also talk about the boathouse, where all of the action takes place and where they first  met (beautiful scenic design provided by Jason Coale and evocatively shifting lights courtesy of Nathan Schroeder).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

STUPEFY! THE 90 MINUTE HARRY POTTER • Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre

If you've never heard of Harry Potter, you may need to get out more.  Suffice it to say that the series of Harry Potter books and the resulting eight films have become a cultural icon.  So naturally, leave it to Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre, that's brought us hilariously condensed versions of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, to now present Stupefy!  The 90 Minute Harry Potter.  That's right.  All eight films condensed and accelerated to a riotous pace.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

THE FOREIGNER • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Larry Shue's 1984 play is a charming, funny, feel-good affair, perfect for the holiday season, and it's currently getting a splendid production at the Rep, under Edward Stern's spot-on direction.

Everything takes place at Betty Meeks's fishing lodge in small town Georgia.  Englishman Charlie Baker (John Scherer) needs a little time away from the grind of his life.  His wife is ill and hospitalized back home, and in addition to nursing her, he's tired of his job as a proofreader for science-fiction magazines, so his buddy "Froggy" (Brent Langdon) has taken him to the lodge for a little rest and relaxation.  Froggy, an ammunitions expert in the military, has become good friends with Betty, the owner of the lodge, and this getaway has become one of Froggy's favorite places.  The thing is though, Charlie is painfully shy and rather uninteresting.  His wife once described him as being "shatteringly boring".  Ouch!!  She's not the most faithful wife in the world, but Charlie still loves her.  He's also terrified of conversation, so in order to try to spare his friend of the possible horrors that interaction might bring, Froggy tells Betty that Charlie is from another country and doesn't understand English.  He figures that way, everyone will leave him alone.

Monday, December 3, 2012

THE DIVINE SISTER • HotCity Theatre

Many of the plays written by Charles Busch are well known for their inclination toward high camp, in which he is frequently featured in drag playing the leading lady.  The Divine Sister was no exception when it debuted off-Broadway in 2010.  In HotCity Theatre's uproarious production, John Flack splendidly takes on the role of Mother Superior.  Under Marty Stanberry's keen direction and a superb supporting cast, this peek behind cloister walls will provide you with plenty of rollicking over-the-topness, including send-ups of everything from Doubt and Agnes of God to The Sound of Music and “The Da Vinci Code”.

Set in 1960's Pittsburgh, Mother Superior is looking to raise some funds so she can modernize St. Veronica's convent school, with the help of Sister Acacius (Kirsten Wylder), the convent's brash wrestling coach.  Don't take this to mean that the Mother Superior is "modern".  She acknowledges the fact that she is living in a time of great social change, but she is determined to do everything she can to stop it!  She is also trying to manage (while Sister Acacius is trying to tolerate) one of the new postulates, Sister Agnes (Alyssa Ward), who's convinced she's "the chosen one", hearing divine voices, witnessing visions, and apparently possessing the power to heal.  St. Veronica's is also hosting the visiting Sister Walburga (Lavonne Byers) from Germany.

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