Repertory: The Playhouse Is the Thing

All the playhouse needs is a moat, and it could pass for a medieval fortress. Yet it is not forbidding. The new home of Houston's 21-year-old Alley Theater is a child's idea of a castle—a genuine playhouse. The sandblasted concrete with its nine turreted towers glows like imprisoned sunlight; glass has succumbed to stone. And behind the facade, inner grace balances outer strength. The stairways are cascades of red-orange carpeting; the low ceilings are dimpled with lights embedded in them like flat moons, and the throwaway nooks and crannies have no function...