Reviews

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

RHINOCEROS (Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium): 2014 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.

WideEyedStudiosDanHodgeRapeofLFinalHigh-30

THE RAPE OF LUCRECE (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective): 2014 Fringe review 4.1

As indicated by Phindie’s 2014 Critics’ Awards, the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective is one of the most consistently excellent independent theater companies in the city. Their last few shows (Creditors [Fringe…

Jennifer Childs and Tony Lawton star as Celia and Toby Teasdale in 1812 Productions’ INTIMATE EXCHANGES (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

Intimate Exchanges (1812 Productions): Fringe Review 1.2

What makes film different from theater is that film is fixed forever, performances and lines repeating endlessly year after year, while theater has the ability to surprise us. And what makes theater different from life is that theater is scripted and life is random, unexpected, not planned out ahead of time. And what makes Philadelphia’s FringeArts Festival fun is that it delights in performances that confound expectations.

aleksandra-berczynski-closure-fringe

CLOSURE (Aleksandra Berczynski & MB Grupa Realizacji): Fringe review 3

Aleksandra Berczynski once again brings a short, delightfully self-indulgent mono-drama to Fringe audiences.

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.

Crazyface2

CRAZYFACE (BrainSpunk): Maybe we’re crazy

From the mind that created the internationally popular ‘Clive Barker’s Books of Blood’ and the movie ‘Hellraiser’ comes another of Barker’s successes, also known as a play called CRAZYFACE. The downright madness of this three-hour play is performed by a cast of over 30 of the finest members of the local BrainSpunk Theater group.

Kash Goins stars as Willy Loman in DEATH OF A SALESMAN. (Photo credit: Katie Balun)

DEATH OF A SALESMAN (GoKash): What happens to a dream deferred

“There is no future for a people who deny their past. My Foreparents, My Grandparents, My Mother, My Father did not suffer and die to give me an education to…

YOU KNOW MY NAME: A DANIEL TALBOTT TRIO (Quince): Devils and saints in small-town America

Daniel Talbott’s YOU KNOW MY NAME: A DANIEL TALBOTT TRIO presents some unique challenges. Three short plays which could easily take place in the same town dwell with nearly pornographic clarity on the cruelty of the town’s inhabitants and of fate.

Photo by Kyle Cassidy

THE GLASS MENAGERIE (Commonwealth Classic): Through the glass darkly

Commonwealth’s production draws the curtain on enough of the play’s window into regret to reveal the melancholy brilliance of THE GLASS MENAGERIE.

(Left to right) Chris Melohn and Alex Kryger in Quince Production’s THE HAUNTED HOST (Photo credit: John Donges)

THE HAUNTED HOST (Quince Productions): Neon Nihilism

On a favor called in by a friend, the misanthropic Jay agrees to let a traveling college drop-out, Frank, crash on his couch for the night. Jay has given up on his dream of becoming a writer, while Frank eagerly seeks advice and guidance on his own play. However, in a great display of “neon nihilism,” Jay teases and bullies his straight guest Frank, who looks uncannily similar to Jay’s recently deceased boyfriend. As these men come to understand each other, and themselves, we discover what it means to sacrifice yourself for lovers, friends, and art.

Aurora Black, Erik Ransom, and Avery Royal in Libertine Idol’s COMING in FringeNYC (Photo credit: Michael Blase)

COMING (Libertine Idol Productions): The Battle of Glamageddon hits FringeNYC!

Self-proclaimed “heir to Sodom and Gomorrah,” the divinely talented writer/ actor/ singer/ musician/ composer/ “disaster in lipstick” Erik Ransom stars in a newly revised version of his 2011 Philadelphia smash hit COMING: A ROCK MUSICAL OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS for FringeNYC.

Alexander Kacala as Miss Fit in SOME ARE PEOPLE, part of GayFest! 2014.

SOME ARE PEOPLE (Quince, GayFest! 2014): Summer loving is no drag

SOME ARE PEOPLE is about summer people. Those people who come into our lives for a time and then go back to wherever they came from, leaving us changed forever.

Mark Evans THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour © Joan Marcus, 2013

THE BOOK OF MORMON (Forrest Theatre): Grumpy Professor review

John “The Grumpy Professor D’Allessandro paid over $100 for a ticket to THE BOOK OF MORMON and thinks it was worth it.

Josh Kachnycz as Berowne in LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST. Photo credit: John Bansemer.

LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST (Philly Shakes): Cromie finds a feast of language and comedy

Under Aaron Cromie’s creative direction, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s production of LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST captures the playfulness of the Bard’s early comedy in a fluid romp.

The entire cast of the Second Annual One-Minute Play Festival at the InterAct, 2014. Photo credit: Seth Rozin.

The Second Annual One-Minute Play Festival (InterAct): Tipsy on Theater: Wine-tasting 90 plays and a night-out in Philly without a hangover

You step off the tour bus, the smell of exhaust replaced first with fresh air, then with the sugary smell of grapes. You sit around a bar with a wine…

Deanna Gibson plays one of three witches in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s MACBETH (Photo credit: Lee A. Butz)

MACBETH (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival): A Minimalist Vision

Director Patrick Mulcahy takes a modernist approach to the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of MACBETH, with a 20th-century minimalist aesthetic that compels the audience to focus on the emotions and actions of the characters and the power of the playwright’s language. It’s stark and intense, and also, at times, oddly anachronistic and comical, performed in attire that suggests a peculiar mash-up of wartime Berlin and dance club chic, military and punk.

The cast of ANDY: A POPERA elevating Sean Lally, who stars as Warhol “expert” Dr. Peter Never (Photo credit: Kate Raines Plate 3 Photography)

ANDY: A POPERA (The Bearded Ladies Cabaret): The Enigma of Warhol

A post-modern fusion of Pop art with opera, ANDY: A POPERA, a work-in-progress by the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, explores the enormous fame and legacy of Andy Warhol, with elements of both tragic opera and opera buffa. The synthesis reflects in part the ambiance of Warhol’s Factory in the Sixties.

Mary Tuomanen and Aimé Donna Kelly in WE ARE BANDITS. Image courtesy of Applied Mechanics.

WE ARE BANDITS (Applied Mechanics): People like us don’t meet

With WE ARE BANDITS, director Rebecca Wright and Applied Mechanics are working against a brutal opponent: American cynicism.

They’ve turned the third-floor space of Asian Arts Initiative into what looks like a sprawling, minimalist installation piece. Tables, chairs, and little else delineate various spaces throughout the basketball-court-sized venue, including a city square, the apartments of various characters, a rooftop, and a church.

Clio (Erica Nicole Rothman, center) with her sister Muses in Mazeppa Productions’ XANADU (Photo credit: Kelly Anne Pipe Photography)

XANADU (Mazeppa Productions): A campy, aMUSEing musical

Zeus has decreed that Muses from Mount Olympus are not allowed to fall in love with mortals – that includes the Muse Clio and a boy from Venice Beach. Therein lies a story of forbidden love, gumption, and sly swipes at certain Hollywood movies — especially XANADU (Universal Pictures, 1980).