Fringe reviews

Reviews of theater and performing arts events in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Phindie is providing more critical coverage of the festival than any other publication in Philadelphia.

An image from Romeo Castellucci's THE FOUR SEASONS RESTAURANT, featuring nudity.

THE FOUR SEASONS RESTAURANT (Societas Raffaello Sanzio): Fringe Review 36.2

Romeo Castellucci has poured his personal inspirations and philosophy into this remarkable abstract production, but ultimately viewers must determine its meaning for themselves. To this viewer, the piece is a resounding “NO.”

(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.

New Paradise Laboratories The Adults Fringe

THE ADULTS (New Paradise Laboratories): Fringe Review 20.2

Whit MacLaughlin is going off the deep end with this one. Are you willing to jump in with him? New Paradise Laboratories’ handsomely crafted, meticulously acted, and totally weird production, is not easily accessible. Nothing much can be taken literally here, and the production doesn’t reward searching for specific meanings as it creates its own tilted world with its own skewed logic.

SECRETS (Tongue & Groove): Fringe Review 41

Tongue & Groove’s team is pretty fearless, and though the performance has some slower moments, they’re quick to cut off a bit that isn’t working and move forward. Musician Carol Moog sits off to the side, riffing on a harmonica whenever she decides a scene has ended.

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

ANNA K (Chris Davis): 2014 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.

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SAFE SPACE (Apocalypse Club): Fringe Review 39

A collaboration between three inventive local playwrights, SAFE SPACE provides its audience a Fringe adventure: a choose your own adventure.

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PHILLY SONG SHUFFLE (Xtreme Folk Scene): Fringe Review 38

From a toe-tapping Peet Seeger sing-along to a head-banging rock and roll number, dozens of unique performances crowded the World Café Live Stage for PHILLY SONG SHUFFLE.  Hosted by the Xtreme…

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.

An image from Romeo Castellucci's THE FOUR SEASONS RESTAURANT, featuring nudity.

THE FOUR SEASONS RESTAURANT (Societas Raffaello Sanzio): Fringe Review 36

Named after a Mark Rothko painting cycle, Castellucci’s piece is a sort of abstract impressionism on stage

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THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME . . . A MUTE PLAY (The Renegade Company): 2014 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

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SPEED DATING TONIGHT! (Poor Richard’s Opera): Fringe Review 34

“You don’t have to like classical music, but you have to like beer,” sings a lonely bassoon player in the charming SPEED DATING TONIGHT!

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THE WINGMEN PRESENT: THE NEIGHBORHOOD (The Wingmen): Fringe Review 33

A combination of sketch, stand-up and improv comedy, THE WINGMEN PRESENT: THE NEIGHBORHOOD sets out to deliver a lively and fun night for its neighborhood audience.

Seth Reichgott

STAND BACK I’M GONNA UKE: AN EVENING OF OLD-TIMEY MUSIC (Seth Reichgott): Fringe Review 32

Short, sweet, and a little bit uplifting. STAND BACK I’M GOING TO UKE is an enjoyable evening of old-timey music.

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WHITE RABBIT, RED RABBIT (Nassim Soleimanpour, performed by Mary Lee Bednarek): Fringe Review 31

Each night, a new actor opens a manila envelope and reads the script for the first time. The spontaneity of the performance allows the author to engage with the audience from miles away and years ago.

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.

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BROKEN WING (Pantea Prodctions): Fringe Review 29.1

A morally ambiguous and deeply political tale of two cultures clashing when an American photographer comes to stay with a family in rural Iran.

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

iHAMLET (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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HUMAN FRUIT BOWL (Andrea Kuchlewska and Harmony Stempel): Fringe Review 27

HUMAN FRUIT BOWL draws audience members into the mind of a nude model as they witness an open depiction of this model as an aware and vocal object.

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WOULD I LIE TO YOU? (RealLivePeople): Fringe Review 26

Compelling in its investigation of untruths, half-truths, white lies, omissions, and embellishments, WOULD I LIE TO YOU? left me with questions. What is a lie? Is something a lie if we lie only to ourselves?

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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.