[18] ANTIHERO (Tribe of Fools Theatre Company): Fringe review

Antihero. Tribe of Fools. 2013 Philly Fringe reviewAlthough founded ten years ago, Tribe of Fools Theatre Company really burst onto the scene with its inimitable Fringe ‘11 offering, Heavy Metal Dance Fag.  Like that show, this year’s production mixes badass with sweet. ANTIHERO’s opening street fight shows off the Tribe’s acrobatic skills in dramatic fight choreography. Simone, a female grad student, (Colleen Hughes) is conducting a study of “the contemporary regressive post-adolescent male.” She has found her subjects in the denizens of a comic book shop. Their favorite comic book heroes, in her hypothesis, reflect their worldviews. Her case notes operate like punctuation, separating parts of the story. A well-intentioned, but misguided guy (Peter Smith), loves Batman and wants to make the world better for some people and worse for those who really deserve it. He clashes with Parker (Kyle Yackoski), a parking authority guy and kind of a doofus. Parker, who believes that rules keep people safe, loves Superman. A local kid (Tim Popp, who also plays assorted baddies) loves Aquaman. A patient shopkeeper (outstanding Zachary Chiero) hears all the arguments over who’s the ultimate hero in the DC universe. A cop with a bad attitude (Leah Holleran) and assorted victims (Carolina Millard) complete the extremely limber cast.  The story centers on a big flap over parking meters. I won’t spoil it by divulging details, but it would serve the script well to set up the audience for the idea that the ending might depart from the play’s light and humorous approach. Besides all the energetic dance, slugging, and Kung Fu fighting, the most  intriguing part of the show has to be the scene changes. These, unlike normal unobtrusive transitions, set the tone of the production with all their action and urban noise, sirens and riotous yelling.  The really good comic dialogue writing (Nick Mazzuca, Terry Brennan, Peter Smith) is matched by the actors’ really good delivery and reactions. [Church of the Crucifixion]. September 6-14, 2013. fringearts.ticketleap.com/antihero

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About the author

Kathryn Osenlund, theater and film junkie, is a former National Critics Institute fellow, NEA fellow in Arts Journalism, and member of the American Theater Critics Assn Steinberg and Osborn playwriting awards committee. A Barrymore Award nominator and professor emeritus in communications and theater, Kathryn also writes for NY-based CurtainUp.com. On twitter @theatrendorphin.