Somewhere, the old boy must be chuckling sardonically under his big, bushy mustache. First, Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a tale of boyhood life on the Mississippi suitable for children. Nine years later he produces The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, starring one of the little rascals from Tom Sawyer. Naturally, readers embrace it as another G-rated adventure. Hey, it's about that scamp Huck. It must be for the kids; just ignore the episodes of child abuse, a homicide or two, the vicious mob justice dealt to a pair of swindlers and pages of trenchant commentary on the uncivilized state of 19th-century civilization. It's as if Louisa May Alcott followed Little Women with the story of Jo's later years working in a New Orleans brothel and the sequel became a favorite of American girls. Twain, the bitter über-skeptic, must have loved the reception; Huckleberry Finn was subversive long before being subversive became old hat. Luckily, the folks at the Classical Acting Company are smarter than the average bear. That's why they warn that their production of Huck Finn, Lee Trull's adaptation of the novel, is not a childrens show. No snappy tunes. Keep the brimstone, hold the treacle. Beware the use of the n-word. Kids are welcome, but this is the real deal. The company's Huck Finn opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Richland College's Arena Theatre, 12800 Abrams Road. Performances continue Thursdays through Sundays until July 2. Call 214-505-1655 or visit theatermania.com.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: June 8. Continues through July 2