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Justin Hayford has strong things to say about the Street Tempo Theatre production of Let My People Come, both positive and otherwise. On the one hand, he calls the staging "craftily mounted, stirringly sung, and shrewdly choreographed." On the other, he points out that Street Tempo has undermined the 37-year-old erotic musical and its politics of ecstasy by adding a dose of post-Reagan sexual conservatism. Laura Molzahn, meanwhile, unreservedly recommends Axis Dance Company, whose dancers—both disabled and conventionally able—generate some erotics of their own. And though there's not much that qualifies as sexy in Hershey Felder's portrait of Leonard Bernstein, Maestro, I'm pretty unreserved about that, too.
The only other show that rates the Reader's coveted backward "R" this week is the House Theatre of Chicago's The Nutcracker, a reimagining of E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale that Julie Thiel labels "smart" and "exuberant." Still, Jack Helbig liked Our Holiday Stories (the "our" encompassing writers Elizabeth Berg, Rohina Malik, and Tanya Saracho) at the 16th Street Theater in Berwyn.
Our critics have more mixed responses to Assisted Living, The Gray Girl, An Interrogation Primer, Red Light Winter, the all-female stage adaptation of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, and Seven Doors. We aren't quite so ambivalent with regard to Cities of Light ("tortured conceit, hammy acting, an absurd amount of audience participation, and singing that grows harsh from too much trying"), Space Wars ("too much of the wit feels like it was teleported elsewhere"), All Childish Things ("familiar and often clunky heist comedy that loses its momentum in the second act as it tries to show its math"), and Twentyone (Brett "Neveu's Aaron Sorkin-esque dialogue makes you feel like you've been cornered at a party by a drunk college kid who wants to talk philosophy"). Dan Jakes tells us that Annoyance Theatre's Fa La La La, Fuck It is outright "malicious."