Saturday, July 31, 2021

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS • Max & Louie Productions

Based on letters compiled and turned into a best-selling book by author Cheryl Strayed after her 2 year stint as an advice columnist for an online magazine, Tiny Beautiful Things proves a wonderful choice for St. Louis audiences longing to return to live theatre. 

Not long after a freelance writer and mother of two agrees to take over the advice column, “Dear Sugar”, her laptop starts to ding with incoming help seekers of all sorts. Whether it’s the indignity of a youngster being stuck with the uncool kids, or the indecision over trading in one lover for another, Sugar doles out advice that is clear-eyed -- the kind of attentive, candid guidance that can come from a stranger. More than once after hearing a letter, I thought to myself, “Ooo. Wonder how she’s gonna answer that one?” Light-hearted queries are sprinkled in among letters that deal with knottier subjects about love, loss, redemption and forgiveness. It’s these moments where Sugar recalls the mistakes and learned lessons from her own past with honest, relatable connections. These universal connections, elicited by strong performances, are the play’s biggest asset.