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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
By George, I Think They've Got It: "A Wonderful Life," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 27 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee Canfield   
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 06:02

Don Denton and Sara Tubbs in A Wonderful LifeI must confess: When I first saw the Jimmy Stewart film It’s a Wonderful Life on TV in the early 1980s, I was not a fan. Was I, I wondered, the only person on the planet who thought the story overly sentimental and a bit of a melodramatic mess? As I was to learn, I was not, for when the film was first released in 1946, some considered it a disappointing addition to director Frank Capra’s oeuvre. Although I have begrudgingly come to accept the movie on its own terms over the years, it was with a bit of trepidation that I went to see the November 12 preview of the musical production A Wonderful Life at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse. Would this, my first published review, be my “outing” as a Scrooge?

Holmes for the Holidays: "The Game's Afoot," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through November 22 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Heather Herkelman   
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 06:01

L-R  Bryan Lopez, Molly McLaughlin, Drew Pastorek, Teri Nelson, Tom Naab, and Stephanie Naab in The Game's Afoot“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of a man can invent.” This Sherlock Holmes quote is a perfect description for the mystery play at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre – at least in terms of the lives of those on-stage. Just when you think things cannot get any crazier and the coincidences cannot get more coincidental, Ken Ludwig’s script shows you otherwise. The Game’s Afoot is a comedy with a mix of nutty characters and a whodunit theme, and while it was clear that the cast was still getting comfortable with each other and the script during Thursday's dress rehearsal, there were improvements in energy and confidence by the second act.

Celebrating Like the Dickens: "Big Rock Candy Christmas," at the District Theatre through November 22 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ashcraft   
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 06:00

Linda Ruebling, Brant Peitersen, Tom Vaccaro, Anthony Natarelli, Mike Kelly, Mark Ruebling, Chris Tracy, Rocky Kampling, Aaron Lord, and Kyle Jecklin in Big Rock Candy ChristmasAt a time when current events make the world seem very dark and sick, the holidays remind us to reminisce with old friends, break out the carols, and bake a batch of Grandma's legendary cookies. One recipe to such a cruel world can be found in the District Theatre's current production Big Rock Candy Christmas. A sequel to last year's Big Rock Candy Mountain, this Christmas-flavored chapter brings back the same characters from the original with a new mission, new music, and even a few new faces.

And Loco Was Its Name-oh: "Bingo," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through November 15 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brent Tubbs   
Monday, 09 November 2015 06:00

Jackie Skiles, Greg Bouljon, and Rebecca McCorkle in BingoThe Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's performance of Bingo at times feels like playing bingo – hoping for a letter and number combination that you don't quite get, but finding yourself pleasantly surprised when you make a full card by the end.

The Invitation Game: "The Dinner Party," at Scott Community College through November 14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Navarro   
Monday, 09 November 2015 06:00

Shannon O'Brien, Karina Monrreal, and Hannah Murray in The Dinner PartyWhen attending a student production, I'm excited for the young performers, and hope the evening ends with the audience standing and cheering. Such were my hopes on the opening night of Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party for the Scott Community College actors , who gave it their best shot with some standout performances. But to have a great production, it helps to have great writing and a great story to tell.

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