SPOOKFISH (Haygen Brice Walker and Jessica Schwartz): 2015 Fringe review 17

spookfish-fringe-reviewThe scary midnight show is something of a Fringe tradition. You don’t go expecting profoundly intellectual, high-budget theater, just some nice frights and shocks and silly good times. Haygen Brice Walker and Jessica Schwartz’s SPOOKFISH fits the bill this year.

A group of teenage workers pass the time at a rural haunted house with drink, drugs, alcohol, and insults. The text is full of youth-speak and cultural references, humorously though sometimes painfully so (“the chick from The Ring is scary hot, if I saw her on Tinder I’d swipe right”), but the energetic cast (Joe Canuso, Richard Chan, Arlen Shane Hancock, Jenna Kuerzi, Campbell O’Hare, and Zoe Richards) keeps things fast-paced and funny. The purposely preposterous plot works best as a series of murderous vignettes. Playwright Haygen Brice Walker tries too hard to give the piece unnecessary heft, resorting finally to meta realization (“we’re in a play”!). The resulting 90-minute run-time is excessive for the late-night horror fluff, but there’s plenty of laughs and shock-fun to see you into the night. BYOB. [Headlong Studios, 1170 S Broad Street] September 4-13, 2015; fringearts.com/spookfish.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.