In her first appearance as Professor E.M. Ashford, Susan D'Autremont was appropriately chilly and forbidding. But she brought an almost radiant kindness to her second appearance, at the bedside of her protegé Vivian Bearing, finally calling on Shakespeare's "flights of angels" to see the dying woman to her rest.


For Wit, Terry Dodd coaxed nuance and passion from a play that -- though it reliably reduces audiences to tears -- has always struck us as thin and smug. Her production created a connection to a deep and ancient sea of inner sadness that even Emma Thompson and HBO couldn't accomplish. We found a grace and truth here that we hadn't previously sensed, and the result was genuinely moving.


I'd venture to guess that no one, but no one, would attend a production of Titus Andronicus except under duress, but this version is inviting and howlingly funny. Five actors played all of the roles, the set was a cunningly fitted-out van in the middle of an empty space, the death score was kept on a chalkboard, and songs and dances punctuated the murderous action. This was a clever, inventive and definitive production.


Hicks has been working with August Wilson's work for so long now that he almost seems to breathe these plays' silences, words and rhythms. For King Hedley II, he brought together a fine group of local and out-of-town actors, elicited generous, full-hearted performances from them and balanced the performances one against the other to create a layered, textured and absorbing world on stage.
The dancing in this show provided all the customary joys of synchronized kicking and tapping, along with loads of wittily unexpected moves. In "I've Got Rhythm," which served as the first-act finale, everything and anything became a musical instrument -- miners' helmets, pizza pans, a plunger and the dancers' bodies. The number built and built and built, and still you wanted it never to end. The original choreography is by the multi-award-winning Susan Stroman; local choreographer Tony Rintala re-created it with a group of talented dancers.


Michael Brown's set for Love's Labor's Lost provided all kinds of sweeps and nooks for playing areas, as well as embracing both the romantic and the rational. The outdoor scenes were all dappled, gray-green shadow, framed by beautifully twisting trees; inside, there were shelves of books and scientific instruments. And the lily pond added depth -- in every sense -- to the action.


Kenn Penn created a gutsy, complex setting for Alchemy of Desire -- one of those archetypal, steamy, swampy bayous, with vines reaching everywhere. Even the weathered wooden steps and platforms reached out into and divided the audience.


From the pieces of furniture worn by the actors in one number to the hanging rubber pullets and clock headdress of another, the costumes for When Pigs Fly were wildly, exuberantly over the top, a pure visual expression of the evening's liberating energy.


When Pigs Fly was a collection of songs, puns, bits and skits performed by a collection of men in drag and directed by the estimable Nicholas Sugar. It was not only bring-down-the-house funny, but also a brave and poignant affirmation of the gay lifestyle and the joys of being out.
For the famed title number in the Boulder Dinner Theatre production of Singin' in the Rain, director Ross Haley provided a kind of monster play pool for actor Brian Norber to stomp, sing and dance in. Front-row audience members were given slickers, and they and Norber enjoyed a mutual good time as the water soared and sprayed.

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