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.