Reviews and previews of upcoming shows.

Stage Capsule Reviews 

Reviews and previews of upcoming shows.

Iron Kisses On one level, Iron Kisses is another dash through two of the most common — and self-involved — ideas that you'd see in a young playwrights' workshop: a coming-out tale, with a detour into how a character got the hell out of a small town. Playwright (and native Kansan) James Still's innovation is to give us this story from the parents' perspective before giving it to us from the kids' point of view — and to have his actors play both generations. Nathan Darrow and Karen Errington are up to the task, playing adult kids fucked up by their parents and the parents fucked up by their kids. When Darrow, playing the father of outed son Billy, describes the moment he knew that his son would someday grow up and leave their town, I enjoyed a gush of feeling far richer than anything I've felt at the theater this year. Through May 20 at the Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main, 816-531-7529, ext.10. Reviewed in our May 3 issue. (Alan Scherstuhl)

Proof The Barn Players' pendulum, which typically swings between cheery community-theater fare and more difficult stuff that's barbed and difficult, has stopped in the middle lately. Urinetown and The Full Monty took more guts to mount than, say, The Music Man, but even most Mennonites wouldn't have been offended by them. David Auburn's Pulitzer- and Tony-winning Proof is another one straight up the middle, a drama too risky for the New Theatre or the Heartland but right at home in Mission. With numerous performances around town in recent years, the show — about the legacy of brilliance and madness that a mathematician leaves his family — is almost a standard. Through May 27 at the Barn Players, 6219 Martway, Mission, 913-432-9100. (Alan Scherstuhl)

A Streetcar Named Desire The craftspeople at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre have muscled a drafty, gorgeous garage into something resembling a theater. Watching a show there, in the shadows of Power & Light, is to experience true culture taking root, talented locals creating something unique in the places that big money has abandoned. MET's last show, QED, suffered from a sloggy script, but the production impressed on every level under local control. Now, MET tackles something a little more solid: Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, source of one of the most parodied lines in Hollywood history: Stella!, which, like Squeal like a pig, is usually quoted by people who haven't bothered to see the original show. Come fill in a cultural gap, kids. Through May 20 at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, 1824 Walnut, 816-536-9464. (Alan Scherstuhl)

The Syringa Tree Pamela Gien's visceral, sentimental one-woman play about growing up white and wealthy in apartheid-era Johannesburg, South Africa, is tricked out by the Rep (and director Sharon Ott) as a full-cast drama. The results are mixed but never uninteresting. There's often beauty in the way it hopscotches from memory to memory, and most of the production's physical aspects are exquisite. But the show's monologue origins result in tableaux instead of scenes. Despite strong work from Kate Goehring and Shanseia Davis, this is too often an illustrated storybook instead of a living drama. Still, it's nice to see new, challenging work from the Rep, especially in a season that has relied too often on the tried and tired. Through May 27 at the Copaken Stage in the H&R Block Building, 13th St. & Walnut, 816-235-2700. Reviewed in our May 10 issue. (Alan Scherstuhl)

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