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Thursday Theater Roundup

Time again for our weekly list of the finest productions playing in theaters across Western New York (and, in the summer months, Southern Ontario). Here they are:

Insidious
Greg Howze as Dawud, left, and Xavier Harris as Insidious in rehearsal for Insidious at the Road Less Traveled Theater. Photographed on Monday, July 12, 2010.  Photo by Bill Wippert

"Insidious," through July 10 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre, a repeat performance from the show's 2010 run. From the review: " 'Insidious' manages to investigate bisexuality, addiction and recovery, infidelity and self-delusion, all while sustaining a level of suspense that keeps audience members leaning forward in their seats. Though the play occasionally strikes a moralistic tone -- especially as it applies to the dangers of unsafe sex, an area where a didactic approach is understandable -- it stays largely focused on the heartbreaking plight of its protagonist." --Colin Dabkowski

At the Shaw Festival:

Inish_0495_DC1
Corrine Koslo as Constance Constantia and Thom Marriott as Hector de la Mare in "Drama at Inish: A Comedy." Photo by David Cooper.

"Drama at Inish: A Comedy," through Oct 1 in the Court House Theatre. From the review (coming tomorrow): "The production, directed by Jackie Maxwell with an innate understanding of the piece's lighthearted nature and its need for a light touch, is as appealing as the script. Maxwell coaxes phenomenal comic performances from Corrine Koslo and Thom Marriott, the self-besotted actors who take their mission with deadly seriousness. Mary Haney's performance of the put-upon innkeeper Lizzie is a brilliant, frenetic combination of Kristen Wiig and Lily Tomlin transported unawares to the Irish seaside." --Colin Dabkowski

Cat_1416_EC 
Gray Powell as Brick, Jim Mezon as Big Daddy and Corrine Koslo as Big Mama in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Photo by Emily Cooper.

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," through Oct. 23 in the Royal George Theatre. From the review: "Jim Mezon, the actor who plays Big Daddy, imbues his character with a special mix of nasty, unbridled rage and crazed hope, the two poles between which any production of "Cat" worth its spit violently and relentlessly swing. This production, directed with a passionate sensibility and the odd flicker of restraint by Eda Holmes, allows Williams' characters to lay themselves bare without the interference of a "fresh" interpretation. The play... bastes itself in the sweat of its own melodrama until it cooks into something far greater than the sum of its ingredients." --Colin Dabkowski

Fair_Lady_2586_DC 
Members of the Ensemble in "My Fair Lady." Photo by David Cooper.

"My Fair Lady," through Oct. 30 in the Festival Theatre. From the review: "Molly Smith, director of the Shaw Festival's new production, seems bent on jazzing all this up in ways we've never seen before. Much of it works very well. Benedict Campbell carries the role of the aloof, scholarly, self-centered Higgins with marvelous consistency, striding the stage in well-practiced patterns that still seem spontaneous, and singing with fine projection of both voice and emotions. Opposite him, Deborah Hay makes Eliza's gradual conversion to a faux aristocrat very convincing. She succeeds dramatically, visually and vocally, in both Cockney squalor and upper-crust elegance." --Herman Trotter

Heartbreak_0049_DC 
Michael Ball as Captain Shotover, Robin Evan Willis as Ellie Dunn and Patricia Hamilton as Nurse Guinness in "Heartbreak House." Photo by David Cooper.

"Heartbreak House," through Oct. 7 in the Festival Theatre. From the review: "In Christopher Newton's engrossing, impeccably staged production, the play's skeleton crew of eccentrics amble around their vaguely nautical environs for three hours and wax poetic on subjects ranging from the use of one's soul to our conflicting desires for pleasure and purpose. No need to get seasick at the prospect of sitting through the show, though. That Shaw's weighty themes remain so captivating across the evening is a testament both to the comic force of his writing and the talents of Newton's cast, who bring characters that might have been stodgy bores in lesser hands to scintillating life." --Colin Dabkowski

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