Thursday, 28 August 2014 22:23

Chuck's theatre choices for the weekend of August 29, 2014

Written by 
L-R: Marc Schapman as Mime and Clay Hilley as Siegfried in 'Siegfried' L-R: Marc Schapman as Mime and Clay Hilley as Siegfried in 'Siegfried' unionavenueopera.org / John Lamb

The summer theatre season is winding down, so there's only one new entry this week—but it's unusual, to say the least.

New This Week:

Rachel Tibbetts and Ellie Schwetye
Photo: Joey Rumpell

Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents Mary Shelley Monster Show by Nick Otten Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 through August 30. "Was Mary Shelley's most famous novel, Frankenstein, really an autobiography? Is she the creator or the creature?" Performances take place at The Chapel Venue, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

My take: In what Tina Farmer, in her KDHX review, describes as "a very intriguing and intellectually bent production," playwright Otten and his actor/collaborators Rachel Tibbetts and Ellie Schwetye have put together what looks like a fascinating experiment in story telling that allows Mary Shelley to be interviewed by her famous Monster. Ms. Farmer says it's "a thought-provoking, thoroughly entertaining performance that lingers, daring you to consider its questions." SATE has never been afraid to take chances and that fearless attitude deserves our support.

Held Over:

Photo: John Lamb

Union Avenue Opera presents Wagner's Siegfried in a condensed and reduced version by English composer Jonathan Dove, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, through August 30. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. The opera is sung in German with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

My take: Union Avenue opera is topping off a highly successful 20th season with the third entry in its multi-year traversal of Wagner's "Ring" cycle. Even in Dove's reduced versions, this is a highly ambitious undertaking for this highly ambitious company, and probably the only opportunity for local opera fans to see productions of these massive works here in town. The nearest city with a large and well-equipped enough opera house to mount the full productions is the Lyric Opera in Chicago, and they won't be doing one until 2016. "All the male voices of this production," writes Gary Scott in his KDHX review, "exude richness and vibrancy, and each one displays a keen sense of articulation, accurate phrasing and solid German diction."

Photo: Peter Wochniak

Stages St. Louis presents the musical Always..Patsy Cline through August 31. "Jacqueline Petroccia and Zoe Vonder Haar star in the return engagement of the show critics called 'exceptional, must see entertainment.' The touching and true story of Country music legend Patsy Cline and her friendship with Texas housewife Louise Seger returns to STAGES this spring. Combining down home country humor, heartache and 27 of Patsy Cline's unforgettable hits such as 'Crazy,' 'Walkin' After Midnight,' and 'Sweet Dreams,' Always... Patsy Cline endures as a piece of genuine Americana." Performances take place at The Playhouse at Westport Plaza. For more information, visit stagesstlouis.org or call 314-821-2407.

My take: Call this a qualified recommendation. If you're a lover of Patsy Cline or country music in general, I think you'll have a great time at this show, which is really more of a celebrity impersonation review than a book musical per se. Jacqueline Petroccia captures Cline's voice and manner so accurately it's eerie and Zoe Vonder Haar is a hoot and a half as Louise Seger, the real-life Houston fan who became a close friends and correspondent of Cline. With over two dozen Patsy Cline hits performed to perfection by Ms. Petroccia and a six-piece band, the show is a real feast for fans. See my KDHX review for more information. The show closes on the 31st but will re-open with the same cast on September 18th.

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