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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
By the Might of the Slithery Loon: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" at Playcrafters through July 23 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 22:30

cuckoosnest_thumb The production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest that opened at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre this past weekend is well-designed and entertaining, and features a bunch of really fine individual performances - nearly a dozen, in fact.

Yet the show, directed by Jeri Benson, is a strange one, because everything that's off in it is off by just a few degrees - not enough to ruin the piece, but enough to make it play less successfully that it might have, and to make several key elements of Dale Wasserman's work no longer make sense. It's not a bad production of Cuckoo's Nest, but it's not quite Cuckoo's Nest, either.

Abra Cadaver: "Tom, Dick, & Harry," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through July 22 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 22:29

tomdickharry_thumb Most theatregoers have at least one genre that they simply can't get on board with. Some can't abide tragic plays - "I get enough drama in life" is their common refrain - and some don't like musicals, and there's an untitled genre that many people, sadly, seem to be petrified of: Shows I've Never Heard of Before.

The latest presentation at the Timber Lake Playhouse is entitled Tom, Dick, & Harry, which is a play that I'd never heard of before, but which also falls under the category of my least favorite genre: the slapstick farce. More often than not, shows of this ilk all seem the same to me: 20 minutes of protracted exposition and character introduction, an hour-plus of forced wackiness resulting from a series of misunderstandings, a few moments of maudlin sentimentality - to make us care about these people? - and a tidy wrap-up, with "naughty" double entendres and obvious, ba-dum-ching! punchlines sprinkled throughout. Many audiences love this stuff; I generally find the relentless bonhomie of it all depressing.

So it's no small praise to say that I really enjoyed Timber Lake's Tom, Dick, & Harry, even though my reasons for enjoying it don't have much to do with Tom, Dick, & Harry.

In a Twist: "Oliver!," at North Scott High School through July 29 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 22:27

Andrew Patrick McPeters This past Saturday, I made my first-ever trek to Eldridge's North Scott High School, to make my first-ever acquaintance with the Countryside Community Theatre, via Lionel Bart's Oliver!, the musical based on Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.

Tired and Feathered: "The Ugly Duckling," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through July 29 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 22:25

Jenny Stodd and Liz Coyne Anyone old enough to read this - anyone old enough to read - is probably too old to enjoy The Ugly Duckling at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse.

Math Magicians: "Proof," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through July 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 11 July 2006 22:38

Generally, when attending a play at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, it doesn't matter where you sit; the venue's shows are presented theatre-in-the-round-style, and more often than not, Richmond Hill's directors stage their works accordingly, giving audiences a fine view of the action from anywhere in the house.

Jessica Nicol and David Kintigh For its production of David Auburn's Proof, however, the theatre's playing area has been transformed into a three-quarter-thrust stage (Proof's front-porch setting designed against the Barn's fourth wall), and at the Friday-night performance I attended, the "best seats in the house," directly facing the set, were already filled by the time I arrived; instead, I took a seat on the stage-left side of the theatre. But for future Proof audiences - and I hope that includes many, many of you - who may find themselves in a similar situation, I'm here to tell you not to sweat the view in the least.

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