EXILE 2588 (Almanac Dance Circus Theater): 2016 Fringe review 49

Ben Grinberg (center) and EXILE 2588 collaborators (l-r Mark Wong, Nick Gillette, Ben, Lauren Johns, Nicole Burgio). Photo by Kate Raines.

EXILE 2588 performers (l-r Mark Wong, Nick Gillette, Ben, Lauren Johns, Nicole Burgio). Photo by Kate Raines.

Directed by Nick Jonczak, EXILE 2588 is a place where acrobatics meets theater, the theater meets the circus, and circus meets blue grass. Death, breath, and gravity-defying terrestrial and aerial stunts make this space epic exhilarating to watch.

Chickabiddy, a Philly-based folk acoustic duo (Emily Schuman and Aaron Cromie) string the show along with their deliciously bittersweet bluegrass tunes, accompanied by guitars, a harmonica and a mandolin.  Emily Schuman’s heart-wrenching voice backs the show’s summersaults, equilibristics, human pyramids and trapeze acts. The duo tells time-traveling epics about Io and Prometheus pestered by robotic gadflies in spandex. Their stories set in motion a brave new Arcadia where mortality is no longer an option. It’s a perfectly choreographed, high-flying act amid a stunning, color-splashing, Magritte-like backdrop. Performers suspend themselves on threads of narrative that feel a bit thin, but we can’t help but feel breathless watching Nicole Burgio, Lauren Johns, Nick Gillette, Ben Grinberg and Mark Wong redefine the impossible.

[Painted Bride Art Center 230 Vine Street] September 8–23, 2016; fringearts.com/exile-2588.

Dance, Fringe Festival, Fringe reviews, Music, Reviews, Theater - Tags: , , , , , , , , - no comments

About the author

Lev Feigin

Lev Feigin is a Philadelphia writer, flâneur, biker and kayaker. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the CUNY Graduate Center and is an alumnus of The Writers Institute at the Graduate Center.