Top

blog

Stories

 

Rembrandt's Gift: Dramatic License's Unexcellent Adventure in Time Travel

Categories: Arts

stage1-1.jpg
John Lamb
Greg Johnston, John Contini and Kim Furlow in Rembrandt's Gift.
A strange thing happens in Act One of Rembrandt's Gift, Tina Howe's half-baked comedy about the time-traveling Dutch master and the healing powers of art.

As the Dramatic License Productions show opens, we're treated to the beginning of what looks like a powerful drama about two has-been artists whose careers and marriage have foundered on the shores of mental illness. It's the middle of the night, and Polly, a once-promising photographer, can't sleep because her husband, a rusty actor named Walter, has finally mastered his engorged prostate and now snores lustily beside her.

More »

Dirty Dancing: Movie-Turned-Stage-Production Is All Left Feet at Fox Theatre

Categories: Arts

DDpennyLEDE.jpg
Caroline Yoo
A scene from Dirty Dancing, with Penny (Jenny Winton) and the omnipresent video-screen backdrop.
So, I've just had "the time of my life"?

Someone, please! Shoot me now.

Rolling into town for a twelve-day stand at the Fox Theatre comes Eleanor Bergstein's Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage, the overstuffed but underwhelming adaptation of the 1987 sleeper hit that made Patrick Swayze a household name.

More »

St. Louis Cartoonist Promises "Year of the Unicorn" Calendar Will Save Your Marriage

Categories: Arts

unicorncalenderjanurary.JPG
via
January, from "Year of the Unicorn."
Lying in bed last month, local artist and 2013 Mastermind Award-winner Matt Bryan was struck by sudden, majestic image. It was elegant but simple, even useful.

He imagined a calendar filled with unicorns.

"It's magical, mythological ground, but it's also the pinnacle of cheesy sincerity," says Bryan, who challenged his creative partner Mike McCubbins and other illustrators to re-envision the creature Lisa Frank famously rainbow-blasted on school supplies in the '80s and '90s. Indeed, these aren't your little sister's unicorns.

More »

A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Rep Delivers a Visually Spectacular Show

Categories: Arts

stage_midsummer_1.jpg
Jerry Naunheim Jr.
A lush foray into A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Will someone please take the glitter gun from Susan Branch Towne?

Actually, don't.

Her costumes in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' shimmering production of A Midsummer Night's Dream are a marvel, imbuing Shakespeare's work with a signature aesthetic that's at once elegant, whimsical and transportive — the sort of interpretive thumbprint that not only unifies the tale, but makes this otherwise superb production sublime.

More »

Diary of Anne Frank: New Jewish Theatre Proves Why This Story Bears Repeating

Categories: Arts

stage_annefrank_1.jpg
John Lamb
New Jewish delivers a heartwrenching Diary.
It ends badly.

But we already knew that. When Wendy Kesselman's adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank opened on Broadway in 1997, critics hailed it as a powerful new version that improved on Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett's original play, giving a fuller account of the Franks' Jewishness and Anne's transformation into a young woman. Nearly twenty years later, it's a testament to Kesselman's work that many now consider her stage adaptation simply as The Diary of Anne Frank, which the New Jewish Theatre has brought to heartrending life in its season opener at the Wool Theatre.

More »

And Then There Were None: Stray Dog's Lively Murder Mystery Does Agatha Christie Proud

Categories: Arts

none560.jpg
John Lamb
Another one bites the dust in And Then There Were None.
Ever been on one of those nightmarish vacations with a group of total strangers? You know, one where you've never met your host? On a remote British island? With spotty ship service, no telephone line, and dubious electricity? A package deal, where just as you're settling in, your fellow guests start dying off as quickly as they can down their highballs?

No?

More »

Antigone: Upstream Theater Delivers an Academic Telling of Sophocles' Classic

Categories: Arts

antigone560.jpg
Peter Wochniak
Maggie Conroy and Patrick Siler in Upstream's Antigone.
A young man's lifeless body is left unburied. The town's sovereign, citing state authority, forbids the family from dignifying his death with a burial. The family protests, risking their lives to defy the laws of men in the name of a higher moral order.

It's a tale as old as time. Or at least the 5th century BC, when the Greek tragedian Sophocles penned what has become known collectively as the Theban plays. Director Philip Boehm's Upstream Theater presented Oedipus Rex in 2010. Now, at this particularly resonant moment in our city's life, Upstream presents the last play in the Theban cycle, opening its season with a workmanlike, classically minded Antigone, a tale that wrestles with pride, state fealty, the laws of men and gods, and the price of personal sacrifice.

More »

Review: Ann Leckie's Ancillary Sword Takes Up Where Her Acclaimed Debut Novel Left Off

ann-leckie-s-ancillary.jpg
For all its corpse-soldiers and intergalactic assassination attempts, Ann Leckie's Hugo/Nebula-winning 2013 novel Ancillary Justice proved most memorable as a love story -- albeit a platonic one, narrated by a spaceship who, like most readers, doesn't even recognize that this a love story until the end. Justice, Leckie's first book, spanned decades and star-systems and consciousnesses: Its chapters alternate between past and present, told by Justice of Toren, a 1,000-year-old troop-carrying vessel of the ever-expanding space empire of the Radch.

Its basics are a mouthful but well worth your time and attention. The ship relates a tale of insurgency and betrayal on one of the systems the Radch have conquered; this material, tense and surprising, feels of our global moment even as it concerns what is, in Ancillary Justice, a tragic past. Meanwhile, in the book's urgent now, a sliver of the hive-mind that once constituted that ship's full A.I. recounts a desperate errand to obtain an alien super-weapon. Leckie excels at page-turning mysteries: what that weapon is, what is to be done with it, and how a stray scrap of ship-intelligence is now independent of its greater host -- and demonstrating what appears to be humanlike willfulness.

More »

Shit Like Hair: White Flag's Current Exhibit Is Provocative for More Than Just Its Title

Categories: Arts

shit560.jpg
Courtesy White Flag Projects
Installation view, Shit Like Hair.
You're always taking a risk when the title of your show can't be printed in a family newspaper. What's an editor to do, employ asterisks? Come up with some neutral euphemism? Ignore it altogether?



More »

Bonnie and Clyde: New Line Theatre Delivers a Killer Musical

Categories: Arts

bonnie560.jpg
Jill Ritter Lindberg
Bonnie & Clyde makes beautiful music.
"Everybody's got dreams," Clyde Barrow, the public-enemy-in-the-making says early in Bonnie & Clyde, the feisty new musical about the gangsters' storied crime spree that opens New Line Theatre's season. "I've got plans."

And what plans they were.

More »
Loading...