Zombies for 21 & Over, Mystery for Marr

Another season of free staged readings at the Omaha Community Playhouse begins with a stellar cast of 17 in Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Only in the Howard Drew Theatre can you really get intimate with zombies and still feel safe, thanks to trained zombie killers.

            As usual, Amy Lane directs the 21 & Over series, lining up a cast that includes UNO cutie Olivia Sather, who’s been busy as a little flirt in the university’s The Government Inspector. Perhaps classmate Brendan Reilly can save her from the zombies.

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I thought we had to wait for November when Brigit Saint Brigit opens Tartuffe at Joslyn Castle to revisit a classic, but I was overlooking a different sort of classic that Doug Marr revives at his Circle Theater. That’s where you can see an intriguing mystery from another era, J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls.

            Granted it gets melodramatic enough at times to prompt giggles from the audience, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable sort of old-fashioned mystery thanks in large part to David Sindelar in the title role. Loved his blunt dialogue as he grilled the guilt out of a wealthy man’s family.

            If the haughty wife (Deb Kelly) insists “I don’t know anything about this girl,” victim of a gruesome suicide, Sindelar’s inspector snaps, “We’ll see.” If the anxious tycoon (Tim Duggan) questions whether his question is relevant, he snaps, “It might be.”

            That probably doesn’t help you much in imagining how delightful the Priestley script becomes in Marr’s deft hands, but suffice it to say it’s gripping and takes interesting twists and turns. Don Harris, more often seen as comic characters, does an especially strong turn as one of the two more admirable objects of the inspector’s grilling.

            The play, preceded by optional dinner, runs through Nov. 6 at Central Presbyterian Church at 57th and Leavenworth.

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There’s s even free Eugene O’Neill arriving Wednesday, Oct. 26, through Oct. 29, when director Zack Jennison presents Moon for the Misbegotten at his final UNO graduate project in Weber Fine Arts Room 006.

            An immigrant tenant farmer, who has driven away his two sons, still keeps the company of his loving daughter Josie, but then she falls for another troubled man, their landlord. No admission is charged for the 7:30 p.m. performances on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus.

 

                                                                        --Warren Francke

 

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

 

 

posted at 08:32 pm
on Sunday, October 16th, 2011

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