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Thursday Theater Roundup


Morgan Chard and Diane Gaidry appear in Torn Space Theater's production of "Uncle Vanya." Photo by Lukia Costello.

"Uncle Vanya," through Sunday in the Dnipro Ukranian Center, presented by Torn Space Theater. ★★★

From the review: "This production, directed by Megan Callahan (who was also behind “He Who Gets Slapped,” the company’s Infringement offering last year) moves swiftly along through a story about wasted potential, wasted time, wasted energy and wasted passion. But one thing that won’t be wasted is your time. Despite some quibbles, the show is sure to be a festival highlight." --Colin Dabkowski

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Michele Costa performs a snippet from her show "Elle." Photo by Mark Mulville / The Buffalo News.

"Elle," 7 p.m. Friday in the Rust Belt Books and 4 p.m. Saturday in the Crane Library

From the review: "What's perhaps most wonderful about Costa's performances, including this one, are the small moments of simple and unexpected beauty she inserts. At a certain point in "Elle," when the scroll reveals the story of the main character's painful departure from her family, Costa reaches up to the scroll and pulls out a long piece of tinsel from a tiny hole where the adult elephant's eye is painted, drawing gasps from the audience. When Costa plays with the apparent limits of the form -- a two-dimensional painting becomes a three-dimensional sculpture, as in another instance in which the scroll becomes a a very believable suitcase -- her work resonates even more profoundly." --Colin Dabkowski

At the Shaw Festival:

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"Enchanted April," through Oct. 26 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "The play departs in several ways from the popular 1991 film, but the spirit of love reborn or found again remains, and lingers after the curtain comes down." --Melinda Miller

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"Lady Windemere's Fan," through Oct. 19 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★★

From the review: "The production design of the show, which provides an alternately light-drenched or shadow-plagued backdrop that amplifies the wide mood swings of its characters, is one of the most enthralling the Shaw Fest has ever conceived. Teresa Przybylski’s sets and Louise Guinand’s lighting conspire to create sumptuous and frightening stage pictures that seem to owe more to Caravaggio or Velazquez than anything from Hollywood or Broadway."  --Colin Dabkowski

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"Trifles," through Oct. 12 in the Court House Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "Next to Glaspell’s beloved mini-masterpiece, Eugene O’Neill’s “A Wife for Life” looks like exactly the piece of unpolished juvenilia it is. Which makes sense, as it was the great American dramatist’s first play, which he later disowned and attempted, unsuccessfully, to destroy. We should be glad he didn’t. Though the piece is probably more interesting to O’Neill scholars and seasoned theatergoers interested in tracing the patterns of his career, its proximity to “Trifles” elevates it to something more." --Colin Dabkowski

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"Guys and Dolls," through Nov. 3 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "For this production, directed by Tadeusz Bradecki with molecular fidelity to the original material and choreographed to within a millimeter of its life by Parker Esse, the Shaw has rounded up a phenomenal cast." --Colin Dabkowski

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"Major Barbara," through Oct. 19 in the Royal George Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Director Jackie Maxwell’s production of Shaw’s long-winded but monumentally engaging play about the tug-of-war between public and corporate interests sets out to rescue Undershaft from her status as a weak protagonist all too willing to mold her ideals to the arguments of others. Alas, despite Maxwell’s laudable efforts and a remarkable performance from the magnetic Nicole Underhay in the title role, the show fails to transform Shaw’s projection screen of a protagonist into a living, breathing human." --Colin Dabkowski

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Claire Julien and Julia Course star in the Shaw Festival's production of "Our Betters."

"Our Betters," through Oct. 27 in the Royal George Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "The play, which explores the efforts of newly wealthy Americans to seek ancient British titles and the status that accompanies them, is timed to exploit our culture’s renewed obsession with the roaring ’20s and the surrounding decades. The play, though a bit clunky in its conceit, is positively 'Gatsby'-esque in its attempt to uncover the emptiness of the British aristocracy and the equally vapid American climbers who try to invade it." --Colin Dabkowski

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