As a lover of theater, beer, and meat-filled pastries, I’ve been excited by the ads and positive buzz about this series from Tiny Dynamite for a few months. When I finally got the chance to catch a show at the Society Hill Playhouse, the first of their new season, it did not disappoint.
Presented during happy hour on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month, each night features an easily digestible British theater piece, washed down with a beer (12 ounces, but who’s to quibble) and an equally digestible slice of pizza pie (it’s not steak and kidney pie, but again…). It’s a simple conceit, yet the lively full house and receptive audience testify to its genius. Tried and tested in Glasgow, Scotland, and elsewhere in the UK, the hook succeeds in bringing new people to the theater, or at least bring regular theatergoers at a new time and in an enlivening atmosphere. (It’s hard to tell, you always see a lot of the same faces opening night.)
Running opening week is BEING NORWEGIAN, a short sweet piece about two troubled people taking awkward baby steps to romance. It’s a simple though somewhat shallow tale, full of light and hunger metaphors and a recurring joke about how things are done in Norway, but it’s humorous and fully satisfying. The direction, lights, and set (David O’Connor) are frilless and tender, and the actors (Kittson O’Neill and Kevin Bergen) form a good onstage connection.
“The darkness hides the grey,” says Sean (Bergen), as he looks out over his Scottish city. “In Norway, we know how to deal with darkness in people’s heads,” Lisa (O’Neill) tells him later.
The play’s concision and early ending time combine with the mild buzz to make it a perfect weekday night out. I didn’t try the pizza, but I heard that was good too. Here’s to more plays, pies, and pints.
A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT
Through March 28, 2012
March 6-7, 2012
by David Greig
Directed by David O’Connor
Tiny Dynamite at the Society Hill Playhouse
507 S. Eight St, Philadelphia, PA
Published by Stage Magazine.