Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Thou Shalt Not

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Director-choreographer Kevin Bellie and his cast throw all their considerable heart, talent, and energy into this production of a sluggish, messy musical. And sometimes they do manage, for a few moments at least, to give it some validity. But the center cannot hold in this 2001 adaptation of Emile Zola's novel of lust and murder, Therese Raquin, reset in New Orleans. The show's creators--Harry Connick Jr., Susan Stroman, and David Thompson--never found a consistent vision for it. And Connick, apparently determined to prove he's not a one-trick pony, used it as a vehicle to display his full range as a tunesmith: from cliche-ridden pop balladeer to pompous Stephen Sondheim clone. Thou Shalt Not is further fragmented by Thompson's lurching, laughably melodramatic book, the best of which feels like Elmore Leonard with a N'Awlins accent, the worst like Tennessee Williams without one. Through 7/10: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Thu 6/23-7/7, 8 PM. No show Fri 6/10 and Sun 7/3. Circle Theatre, 7300 W. Madison, Forest Park, 708-771-0700. $22-$24.

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