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Thursday Theater Roundup

Ben Cook (Billy), Janet Dickinson (Mrs. Wilkinson) and Samantha Blaire Cutler (Debbie) in “Billy Elliot” at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.

"Billy Elliot," through Sunday in Shea's Performing Arts Center. ★★★

From the review: "In the end, [Elton] John’s sub-par work holds this show back from perfection. But even so, [Peter] Darling’s magnificent work and these gifted performers help the rest of the show to succeed for the same reason Billy Elliot himself does: because of a joyful, uncomplicated love for dance." --Colin Dabkowski

"And the World Goes 'Round," through Oct. 14 in O'Connell and Company's home in Gleason Hall on the Erie Community College Williamsville campus. ★★★½

From the review: "Director Bucheker has paired his singers well and when the quintet joins together, on 'Money, Money' and the title tune from 'Cabaret,' their harmonies surprise and please. Bucheker wears a choreographer's hat, too; on occasion, movement is endearingly clunky. But, the pace is generally full of nonstop fun, with minutes of overwrought kept to a minimum."--Ted Hadley

Tyler Doherty, left, joins Katie White and Ray Boucher in Buffalo Laboratory Theatre's production of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead."

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," through Saturday in Buffalo Laboratory Theatre's Swan Auditorium at Hilbert College. ★★★½

From the review: "This consummate production of Stoppard's play, which pays keen attention to the playwright's precise wordplay, stars BLT founder Taylor Doherty and his frequent collaborator Ray Boucher. Boucher's Guildenstern - or is it Rosencrantz, as these guys are never quite sure who they are - is brash and impatient, while Doherty's Guildenstern (or is it Rosencrantz?) is his wonderfully goofy and good-natured foil." --Colin Dabkowski

"The Guys," through Saturday at American Repertory Theatre's home in Buffalo's Church of the Ascension. ★★★

From the review: "Maybe that's the brutal art in this: there's too much horror to resolve. And so it goes on, every day, as long as it takes. This production does a serviceable job of testifying on behalf of those touched immediately, remotely or some place entirely removed." --Ben Siegel

"The Mystery of Edwin Drood," through Oct. 7 in the Kavinoky Theatre. ★★★★

From the review: "This is a sharp production of a smart show. It exalts the love of storytelling in a way that treats its actors, audiences and source material to a satisfying, complete night of theater. Dickens should be proud, if even a little jealous, of the way his life's final mystery finds its resolution." --Ben Siegel

The cast of "Crowns" at Paul Robeson Theatre. Photo by Sharon Cantillon/The Buffalo News.

"Crowns," through Oct. 7 in the Paul Robeson Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "More than a dozen gospel songs, traditional rousers, are sung: 'Wade in the Water,' 'We're Marching to Zion,' 'That's All Right,' "I'm on the Battlefield for My Lord' and more, plus a stunning, 'inspirational and memorable interpretation of 'His Eye is on the Sparrow' by Denise Smith. 'Powerful' doesn't do it justice. Ethel Waters and Whitney Houston would be proud." --Ted Hadley

"Maria Droz, Mary Ryan and Sean Murphy in Theatre of Youth's production of "Knuffle Bunny.'

"Knuffle Bunny," through Oct. 7 in Theatre of Youth's Allendale Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "It's cute and clever work... I liked it. It reminded me of the halftime airs at the Super Bowl or maybe an Olympian closing ceremony. And it made about as much sense as the rhetoric at the recent political conventions. The tune could become an anthem for the entire political season." --Ted Hadley

"Roadkill," through Oct. 6 at Alleyway Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "Neal Radice, Alleyway's impresario, directs sagely on a diner set of his own design. "Roadkill" sometimes tries too hard to be quirky and is often preposterous, but it has nevertheless evolved nicely from page to stage." --Ted Hadley

Richard Lambert and Josephine Hogan in "Mr. and Mrs. Nobody" at the New Phoenix Theatre. Photo by Mark Mulville/The Buffalo News.

"Mr. and Mrs. Nobody," through Oct. 13 in the New Phoenix Theatre.  ★★★½

From the review: ""Mr. and Mrs. Nobody" is ingenious in many ways. Hogan and Lambert are marvelous bumblers. The Pooters are prone to gaffes whether at home or away, and the best of intentions go constantly awry. They tumble about, burst into ridiculous song, tangle with innocent looking props, dignity temporarily doused. They are hapless and hilarious." --Ted Hadley

June L. Saunders Duell and Danica Riddick in Road Less Traveled Productions' "From the Mississippi Delta."

"From the Mississippi Delta," through Oct. 7 in Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "By naming herself and telling her story, Holland became powerful enough to rewrite history. We’re lucky she left her story behind, and lucky that it’s been given such a fine revival." --Colin Dabkowski

"The Music Man," through Oct. 14 at MusicalFare Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Though on opening night the pistons were not all firing precisely on time, the production is more than well-oiled enough to allow audiences to suspend their disbelief to swallow Willson's questionable and even somewhat cynical premise about the wages of deception. Even if that premise rings slightly false in 2012 for those of us who've seen our share of Bernie Madoffs and Bashar Issas, there's no doubt that the music still rings true." --Colin Dabkowski

"The Accidental Death of an Anarchist," through Sept. 29 in the Subversive Theatre's Manny Fried Playhouse. ★★★½

From the review: "The piece works well, and though the second act falls flat in the laughs, it posits an important question: when the fight for justice and transparency gets so bloody that it blurs the lines of democracy, who's the hypocrite?" --Ben Siegel


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