It’s perhaps peculiar that there aren’t more established theater spaces in South Philadelphia (The Shubin and Theatre Exile’s new headquarters are lonely outposts). And in previous years, it might have been difficult to put together a Philly Fringe preview solely dedicated to this neighborhood. But for the 2013 Fringe Festival, the area South of South St. is flush with promising theater shows. Phindie’s seventh preview looks at the Fringe productions on offer in this heart-of-the-city hood.
South Philly Fringe (includes Queen Village and Bella Vista)
South Philly hosts some of the picks of this years festival among the eight theater productions. The Renegade Company has been making waves in pre-Festival buzz for Bathtub Moby-Dick, its repurposing of Herman Melville’s classic novel. Yes, it takes place in a bathtub.
Local actor Mary Tuomanen and her director beau Aaron Cromie make a formidable duo. Following up 2011’s Fringe hit A Paper Garden, they bring their considerable talents to Saint Joan, Betrayed, a one-woman (and puppets) piece about French rabble-rouser/national icon Joan of Arc. (Read a longer Phindie preview.)
The Groundswell Players promise to bring the house down with their men’s group bromance Go Long Big Softie. (Literally: the Torrent Collective venue will be demolished with weeks of the last performance). This exploration of contemporary masculinity boasts a strong creative team: FringeArts Lab fellow Mason Rosenthal and Pig Iron grad Scott Shepard perform and 2012 Fringe star Charlotte Ford directs.
Down the line, South Philly’s other theatrical offerings entice. Tribe of Fools satirizes vigilantes and the PPA with Antihero. ETC Theater explores the intersection of foodie snobbery and just-good pizza with By the Slice. Sexy Chlamydia dell’Arte brings more hilarious sex-ed with another titillating burlesque show. Zacherlie and daughter. A Streetcar Named Desire star Kim Hunter gets a too-private father-son celebration in Zacherlie’s Happy Birthday Kim Hunter. Hip boutique Hodge Podge hosts Davey Stratton-White’s odd monologues The Foundling Wheel.
In other disciplines, Night club L’Etage has become a haven for cabaret and comedy, and this Fringe sees a couple good offerings on Creperie Beau Monde’s second floor. Polygon Comedy regular offerings at the club are high quality variety, they have other Fringe shows at O’Neals Pub and elsewhere. Fringe fave The Waitstaff admitted to “jumping the shark” with their popular Real Housewives of South Philly shows; The Waitstaff Happy Hour is a brand new show by a top Philly troupe.
Fans of local literature and music will want to take a break from the Fringe theater and check out Unsongs: New Tales of Philly’s Unsung Heroes. Two Philly publications collaborate: lit mag Apiary and music journal Jump. Sing their praises.
The 2013 Fringe Festival runs September 5-22. See fringearts.ticketleap.com for tickets and info. Check out Phindie previews of other Fringe neighborhoods and more great festival coverage on our 2013 Fringe Festival page.