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Struggling To Find a Right Way

Theater: ‘The Best of Enemies’

The first speech in Mark St. Germain’s “The Best of Enemies” is repulsive. But don’t let that scare you away because this is an emotionally rewarding and affecting play fueled by four sterling performances.

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What Would Shakepeare Say — About Paris?

Theater: ‘As You Like It’

A purist’s skin would crawl at the liberties director Tony Simotes has taken with Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”
But the glow of the acting shines through all the theatrical high jinx. It’s a joy.
Simotes has updated the play to 1920s Paris, a place of gaiety and ebullience, in which people strive to put The Great War behind them as the world slides toward the next horrific destruction to come.

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Watch for the Banana Peels

Theater: 'Godspell'

A couple of unexpected revelations underlie the Up in One company’s buoyant, weirdly nostalgic resurrection of “Godspell” at the Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center.
First: This clowny, high-comedy, slapstick troupe hearkens to 1971when artists didn’t take themselves so seriously.

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A New Gem, a Fine Classic

Theater: ‘Last Train to Nibroc’ & ‘The Wild Duck’ Marsden Epworth
compass@lakevillejournal.com

In the former home of a ballet school in Torrington, CT, barres still in place, a new theater company is giving us a lean and piercing production of Arlene Hutton’s “Last Train to Nibroc.”
“It’s crazy,” director Sean Harris told the full house last Thursday. “It is an act of bravery to start a theater company, especially in hard times.”
But new, often actor-driven, production companies are popping up in empty urban real estate all over the area. And this one, Fifth Letter Productions, has opened with a focused and stirring play for two characters.

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Youth, Identity, AIDS, It’s All Here

Theater: 'Rent'
leong@lakevillejournal.com

The exhilarating, seminal Broadway rock opera, “Rent,” is exploding on the Tri-Arts stage in an exciting, propulsive, moving production that is the best I’ve ever seen there.

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Just a Fella and His Dog

Theater: 'Sylvia'
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Sylvia is unlike the usual “other woman.” She’s frisky, adoring, devoted; she sits and stays and rolls over on command (well, usually). She’s sexy in fishnet stockings or down home in sweatshirt and jeans. She loves middle-aged Greg, who picked her up in the park, with an almost embarrassing adoration, but she wants his wife, Kate, to like her, too.
Sylvia, of course, is a dog.

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The Sedaris Kids Hit Town

Theater: ‘The Book of Liz’
compass@lakevillejournal.com

The Talent Family, otherwise known as brother and sister David and Amy Sedaris, have brought us “The Book of Liz,” a strange and sometimes funny play about the reclusive Squeamish sect in the community of Clusterhaven.
The Squeamish men are bearded, stern fellows who are a little hard on their womenfolk who scurry about in long black dresses, support the community by growing chives and making cheeseballs and who travel the countryside by llama.

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How Human, How Hilarious

Theater: ‘The Supporting Cast’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

“The Supporting Cast,” a comedic howler that arrived on Broadway in 1981, is filled with gag after gag, which – done well – generates both chuckles and guffaws. And in The Sherman Playhouse’s production, a talented cast delivers stinging one-liners and physical comedy with aplomb.

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All Dazzling Scope and Shouting Soul

Theater: ‘The Who’s Tommy’

It’s the brave company that takes on “The Who’s Tommy,” a high-risk piece of theater if ever there was one. This Brit-band’s fantastical “rock opera” of 1969 was never intended for the stage, but was writ large for Broadway production 25 years later. At heart, it’s nothing more than a few dozen music-video scenes accompanied by brilliant late-1960s rock songs, all shakily stitched together by a plot involving vague themes of Eastern-mystic-inspired self-discovery and a blind, deaf and dumb kid who plays pinball.

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Before the Thunder That Changed a Nation

Theater: ‘Moonchildren’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Berkshire Theatre Festival’s revival of Michael Weller’s first play, “Moonchildren,” is intelligent and keenly observed in Karen Allen’s directorial debut with the company. A good-to-brilliant cast gives fresh performances and brings near perfect timing to lightning fast comic banter, hilarious but meaningful monologues and deeply felt confessions.

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