Here’s a handful of recent reviews of professional productions and a community-theater musical showing in the Salt Lake area.
Ballet West • The new production of “Cinderella” runs through Saturday, Feb. 23. “Each of the three acts in the ballet builds slowly, and for present-day American audiences, the drama is more like an episode of ‘Downton Abbey’ than ‘CSI Miami,’ ” writes dance critic Kathy Adams. “The audience gets to know the Ugly Stepsisters as two very specific personalities, whose sibling rivalry is obsessive and crueler between them than toward Cinderella. Dancers Chris Ruud and Easton Smith don’t overreach as the Uglies, but rather bring a touch of the surreal to the already Dalí-esque quality of their characters.” Tickets, $19-$75, at 801-355-2787 or arttix.org.
Bottom line • “A beautiful and complex look at the age-old fairy tale of Cinderella.”
Pioneer Theatre Company • The production of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Clybourne Park” runs through March 2. “‘Clybourne Park’ plants its feet firmly in a rhetorical neighborhood where everyone speaks whole or partial truths at some time, but most of the time they’re all entirely or partially wrong,” writes theater critic Ben Fulton. “It seemingly mocks any naive concepts we might hold about ‘importance’ when we sit down to watch a play advertised in advance as dealing with such meaty issues as race, class and society.” Tickets, $25-$44, at 801-581-6961 or pioneertheatre.org.
Bottom line • “A robust, finely rendered drama by Pioneer Theatre Company about all-American anxieties that bites you in the conscience when you least expect it.”
Salt Lake Acting Company • In an unusual coincidence, SLAC’s production of “How to Make a Rope Swing,” which runs through March 3, also explores attitudes about race and ethnicity, as does “Clybourne Park.” “‘How to Make a Rope Swing’ is an indelible portrait of a time and place and the people who both shaped and were shaped by it,” according to theater writer Barbara M. Bannon. “And its complicated, conflicted characters reveal that we all harbor hidden biases that cannot avoid influencing our lives.” Tickets, $23 to $42, at 801-363-7522 or saltlakeactingcompany.org.
Bottom line • “Fully realized, emotionally rich performances breathe life into Shawn Fisher’s beautifully crafted play.”
Hale Centre Theatre • The production of the musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” runs through April 13. “HCT shows are always technically sound, and the actors sing and dance beautifully,” writes Tribune reviewer Daisy Blake. “What I always hope is that their acting skills give the show a heart, which is happily the case with ‘Chitty.’ I became deeply invested in a storyline that was delightfully obscure, at times touching and sporadically so dark that I shivered in my seat.” Tickets, $16-$28, at 801-984-9000 or halecentretheatre.org.
Bottom line • “The story of a magical race car will take you to new theatrical heights.”