New venue: the Mockingbird on Main. New endeavor: Calvin Vo's and T.J. Green's Haus of Ruckus. New play: "Jacques"alope. But new actors? Happily, no. I don't mean that they're old – they're experienced, and delightful to watch.

Having just enjoyed a summer refreshingly filled with small-cast productions, I've rarely seen more than a handful of folks gathered together onstage this year. Yet somehow, Company director, lighting and set designer, and venue co-founder David M. Miller – along with choreographer Beth Marsoun – accommodated 14 people on that compact playing area without anyone looking constricted.

Having seen Saturday's production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, I'd argue that director Jennifer Kingry could not have chosen a more dynamic duo to perform this work than Stephanie Naab and Adam Cerny.

You don't need to know anything about Patsy Cline, one of the all-time queens of country music, to love A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.

If you know this musical's title, and have seen any ad artwork, you already know that the show involves a very bad sentient plant. So I'll now reveal that it grows, as plants do. Except real big. And it's a carnivore. And it keeps wanting heftier portions of meat.

When I sat down for Saturday's presentation of Outside Mullingar, I was already impressed by the high quality of the performers' credits, along with the large quantity of shows each has done. I was soon to be dazzled.

I attended Quad City Music Guild's Thursday preview of Matilda: The Musical, and as I'd never before seen the 2010 show, hadn't seen the 1996 movie, and hadn't read the 1988 Roald Dahl book it's based on, I obviously came very late to this party – and it's a huge party.

This 2005 show set in Minnesota in the mid-'60s, has inspired such a ravenous fandom that there are now seven related musicals in this series. The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse has produced some of them – one just this spring. Yet somehow, I'd so far escaped these ladies' clutches. I'm here to tell you I was clutched, but good, at Thursday's opening-night performance at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre.

Even within the subset of meritorious solo or duo shows, author Lauren Gunderson's I & You is a particularly outstanding and imaginative two-person play unlike any I've seen in the Quad Cities, and one to which the Black Box Theatre did full justice. I attended opening night as one member of an equally appreciative crowd.

The summer is obviously flying by, as the final show of the Mississippi Bend Players' season – Nilaja Sun's No Child … – just opened at Augustana College's Brunner Theatre. I was there for Thursday's opening night; there are only three performances left, and you have got to see it. This show’s structure is unusual, the topic relatable, and the performance exceptional.