John Bellomo and Renato Arcuri perform in Ombelico’s FLIM FLAM PHANTOM SHAM (Photo credit: Courtesy of Ombelico Mask Ensemble)

FLIM FLAM PHANTOM SHAM (Ombelico Mask Ensemble): Fringe Review 56

Ombelico’s latest al fresco offering, FLIM FLAM PHANTOM SHAM, is a delightful synthesis of traditional Commedia dell’Arte with current Philadelphia references, delivered in Italian and English—or Philly’s local version thereof!—which kept me in stitches throughout the entire all-ages show.

Aaron Cromie stars in THE BODY LAUTREC (Photo credit: Mary Tuomanen)

THE BODY LAUTREC (Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen): Fringe Review 53

THE BODY LAUTREC is not everyone’s cup of tea: a shockingly hard-core depiction of the depravities and debaucheries of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and his art.

Philadelphia Opera Collective, BY YOU THAT MADE ME FRANKENSTEIN (Photo credit: Harish Pathak)

BY YOU THAT MADE ME, FRANKENSTEIN (Philadelphia Opera Collective): Fringe Review 51

The compelling two-act opus captures the historic characters, events, and mood with passion and clarity.

Promotional image for NIGHTMARES IN NEVERLAND, featuring Jenna Kuerzi (Photo credit: Brey Ann Barrett)

NIGHTMARES IN NEVERLAND (Bri Shaw/Brian Clores/Brey Barrett/Haygen Walker): Fringe Review 47

Two original one-hour plays inspired by the life and popular children’s book of Scottish author J.M. Barrie

(Photo credit: Courtesy of KILL SHAKESPEARE)

KILL SHAKESPEARE: LIVE GRAPHIC NOVEL (Revolution Shakespeare and Hear Again Radio Project): Fringe Review 42

Revolution Shakespeare (dedicated to new approaches to the playwright) and Hear Again Radio Project (specializing in the recreation of vintage radio programs) have teamed up for an entertaining presentation of the popular graphic novel series KILL SHAKESPEARE.

Chris Davis plays Vronsky in ANNA K (Photo credit: Courtesy of the Artist)

ANNA K (Chris Davis): Fringe Review 40

Can you imagine 19th-century Moscow transported to contemporary Philadelphia, and Leo Tolstoy’s Russian angst-laden tragedy Anna Karenina transformed into a wacky local comedy? Luckily for Fringe audiences actor/playwright Chris Davis could.

Sam Sherburne and Hannah Van Sciver in MARBLES (Photo credit: JJ Tiziou)

MARBLES (Hannah Van Sciver): Fringe Review 37

Hannah Van Sciver examines the difficult connection and disconnect between two Millennials in her original work MARBLES.

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THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME . . . A MUTE PLAY (The Renegade Company): Fringe Review 35

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME . . . A MUTE PLAY captures the narrative, message, emotion, and beauty of its literary source without speaking a word

8. John Schultz, TILL BURNAM WOOD promo image

TILL BIRNAM WOOD (John Schultz): Fringe Review 30

One way to focus on the extraordinary eloquence and drama of Shakespeare’s language is to eliminate all visual distraction, and that is precisely what John Schultz has done in TILL BIRNAM WOOD—a rapid-fire 55-minute adaptation of Macbeth that is performed before a blindfolded audience.

Melissa Dunphy stars in iHAMLET at The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre (Photo credit: Kendall Whitehouse) 

iHAMLET (The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre): Fringe Review 28

Robin Malan’s iHAMLET, a stripped-down contemporary one-man adaptation of Hamlet, is performed in The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s Fringe production by one impressive woman. Actor/musician/composer Melissa Dunphy displays a remarkable command of the non-linear script, not once misspeaking a word of her 55-minute solo performance.

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TWENTY LOOKS OR PARIS IS BURNING AT THE JUDSON CHURCH (XS) (Trajal Harrell): Fringe Review 25

Trajal Harrell’s TWENTY LOOKS comes in a selection of lengths and sizes, and although the Presented Fringe version of his solo show runs extra small, at a mere 25 minutes to a 25-person audience (hence the XS in the extended title), you will be reminded that good things come in small packages.

Pre-production photo of Kaleid’s NO PLACE LIKE (Photo credit: Valerie Giacobbe)

NO PLACE LIKE (Kaleid Theater): Fringe Review 21

Part performance piece and part group therapy session, the self-devised offering is a soul-baring exposé of the growing pains of real people, in which an all-female ensemble of five creators/performers (Jess Brownell, Nina Giacobbe, Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez, Rae Bradley, and Samantha Rose Schwab) explores the concept of “home” through memorable events from their own personal backgrounds.

New Paradise Laboratories The Adults Fringe

THE ADULTS (New Paradise Laboratories): Fringe Review 20

Rhrough minimal, absurd dialogue and highly stylized, disjointed movement, the ensemble-devised work evokes the boredom and bad behavior of a privileged vacationing family of film artists and their guests.

PAC, RAPE OF LUCRECE, Dan Hodge, phto WideEyedStudios

THE RAPE OF LUCRECE (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective): Fringe review 4.2

PAC’s THE RAPE OF LUCRECE is not only the performance of a lifetime by Dan Hodge, but also a momentous socio-political statement and a stirring call to activism.

Tribe of Fools, TWO STREET, phto Kate Raines

TWO STREET: A TALE OF STAR-CROSSED MUMMERS (Tribe of Fools): Fringe Review 12.2

Shakespeare meets South Philly in Tribe of Fools’ TWO STREET, a high-energy take on Romeo and Juliet through the perspective of a contemporary gay couple. But here the tale of…

Found Theater Company’s DEEP BLUE SLEEP (Photo credit: Harish Pathak)

DEEP BLUE SLEEP (Found Theater Company): Fringe Review 13

This year’s Fringe offering by one of Philadelphia’s most consistently impressive young collectives transports us through a maritime dreamscape of sailors and pirates, shipwrecks and skeletons, sea shanties and sea creatures, as two children drift into a fitful sleep filled with the imagery of bedtime stories and seafaring tales

Ethan Lipkin stars as Bérenger in the IRC’s RHINOCEROS (Photo credit: Johanna Austin @ AustinArt.org)

RHINOCEROS (Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium): Fringe Review 5

Director Tina Brock brings spot-on casting, lightning-quick pacing, and non-stop hysteria (of both the panicked and hilarious varieties) to Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s FringeArts production of Eugène Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS. The devastating consequences of mindless conformity, social apathy, and turning a blind eye to a growing threat are the important themes of the darkly comic Theater of the Absurd masterpiece.

Teddy Fatscher is featured in the VIP locker-room pre-show for SUSPENDED by Brian Sanders’ JUNK (Photo credit: Courtesy of Brian Sanders’ JUNK)

SUSPENDED (Brian Sanders’ JUNK): Fringe Review 2

Have you ever been caught between two conflicting emotions at the same time? Have those ambivalent feelings left you hanging, unable to decide what to think or how to act? Have you turned to your most primal impulses to figure out who you are and where you’re going? Baring body and soul, Brian Sanders’ JUNK explores the psychology and physicality of uncertainty and transition in SUSPENDED.

Jennifer Childs as Sylvie Bell and Tony Lawton as Lionel Hepplewick in 1812’s INTIMATE EXCHANGES (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

INTIMATE EXCHANGES (1812 Productions): Fringe Review 1.1

Alan Ayckbourn’s inventive rom-com about failing and budding mid-life relationships in suburban London is that the play (or more accurately, the first volume of the playwright’s original two-volume work that is performed here) offers sixteen plot options and eight different endings. And for the first time in its production history, 1812 shines the spotlight on random members of the audience to decide spontaneously which path the characters should take as they reach a series of crossroads in their lives.

MAUCKINGBIRD MIX

Mauckingbird Presents Staged Readings of Two Gay Milestones

Two groundbreaking plays in the history of queer theater–Lillian Hellman’s THE CHILDREN’S HOUR and Mart Crowley’s THE BOYS IN THE BAND—will be presented in the format of staged readings over the next two weekends by Mauckingbird Theatre Company.