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Vexler Theatre presents Thornton Wilder classic

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Rusty Thurman and Heather Manly in the Vex’s production of Our Town.

In general, the large ensemble’s acting is appropriate for a community theater, though a smidgen below the Vex’s average in terms of polish. As no-nonsense matriarchs, both Barbara Lewis-Harris and Lynn McIntyre Dulmaine bring a welcome flintiness to their roles, while Rick Lukens nails the melancholia of alcoholic choir master Simon Stimson, who’s proof positive that Grover’s Corners is anything but Mayberry. Rusty Thurman lends an oversized, goofball charm to George, which doesn’t quite click with Heather Manly’s more mannered performance as Emily. Chad Miller’s careful soundscape helps to fill Our Town’s metaphorical (and literal) dead spaces.

The theater scene in San Antonio is a-changing, and institutions are (at last) developing distinctive company styles. More than once I considered how other San Antonio ensembles might have tackled the challenges of this particular play. How the Classic might have aimed for a more Beckettian gravity, or how the AtticRep might have populated Grover’s Corners with barking seals and sex toys. I fear Our Town, as a script, plays less to the Vexler’s traditional strengths than to its traditional weakness: a warm-heartedness that tends to bury interpretative problems — along with, in this case, Our Town’s dead. •

Our Town

7:30pm Sun, 8pm Sat, 2:30pm Sun
The Sheldon Vexler Theatre
Barshop Jewish Community Center
12500 NW Military Hwy
(210) 302-6835
Through Sep 11

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