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ON THE EDGE
GYPSY THEATRE PLAYS A MIXED DECK IN NEW SEASON

As its name suggests, the Gypsy Theatre is always a little unconventional, colorful and experimental. The troupe has something of the British ambience associated with Canada, but it doesn't shrink from taking a few chances.

Over the last few years, the Gypsy Theatre, located at 465 Central Ave. in Fort Erie, Ont., has taken a crack at such varied offerings as Stephen King's "Misery," an eyebrow-raising comedy full of ethnic humor called "A Night in the Theatre," and Samuel Beckett's classic "Endgame." Critics loved some plays and hated others. This is a troupe that's not afraid of being on the edge.

The company's new season is the mixed bag that theatergoers have come to anticipate.

The Gypsy Theatre opened its 2003-2004 lineup with "Dear Liar," a touching story about the flirtatious and occasionally thorny relationship between George Bernard Shaw and the actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who starred in many of his plays. The play, written by Jerome Kilty, is based on the letters the two wrote to each other. "Dear Liar" runs through June 15.

From that romantic beginning, the plays veer off in all kinds of interesting directions. Here is what's in store for the rest of the season:

"Criminal Minds," by Robin Swicord. A loser, his wife and an ex-convict are all hiding out on an abandoned mini-golf course. The ex-con could be a genius and could have the ability to make his companions rich -- if he didn't keep suffering inconvenient memory lapses. The comedy runs June 26 through July 13. "An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf," by Michael Hollinger. An eccentric restaurateur, morose upon his return from the bullfights in Madrid, startles his staff by announcing his decision to starve himself to death at his own table. The frantic help, desperate to save him, strike a last-minute deal: He must allow them to describe, in tantalizing detail, a multicourse feast -- even if the platters are empty.

"Home," by David Storey. This subtle play presents us with two oddball men and two oddball women in seaside hotel garden, talking about nothing in particular -- until, gradually, reality begins shifting. The Gypsy Theatre describes this offering as "a humorous play about the frailty of the human psyche and the endurance of the human spirit." "Home" runs Aug. 21 through Sept. 7.

"Down an Alley Filled With Cats," by Warwick Moss. A book in a bookshop in Sydney, Australia, contains a clue that could lead to a fortune. The bookshop owner and a man seeking the book are locked together in the shop overnight, both struggling toward the secret. It runs Sept. 18 through Oct. 5.

"21A," by Kevin King. Gypsy Theatre Artistic Director, John Dalingwater, stars in a series of monologues as eight wild characters on a Minneapolis bus. Ingeniously, as the play unfolds, a variety of events occur simultaneously. It runs Nov. 6 through 22.

"A Midsummer's Dream," adapted from Shakespeare. The Bard's tender comedy about fairies, love and misunderstandings is presented in a whimsical Victorian setting, the drama concealed in the lush surroundings of an English garden. It runs Dec. 11 through 27.

For information, check out www.gypsytheatre.com, or call 1-877-990-PLAY.

e-mail: mkunz@buffnews.com

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