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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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[78] STUDY HALL (Philly Improv Theater): Fringe review

The conceit of Philly Improv Theater’s STUDY HALL is that we the audience are a bunch of prep school students, awaiting a lecture in an auditorium. A few uniformed “classmates”…

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[77] BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL (Life Theater Company): Fringe review

Weekly World News is known for a lot of things, but heartfelt sentiment isn’t one of them. Surprising, then, that the tabloid birthed BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL, an honest-to-goodness tearjerker…

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[76] BASTARD PIECE (No Face Performance Group): Fringe review

You are in a spacey kind of facility thing. It’s all white in there, with some technological lookin’ kinda lights. There are three doors; soon, there are three actors, too….

Kristen Minsky at REGGIE'S BRODIE. Photo credit: Bill Edwards

[75] REGGIE’S BRODIE: A VAUDEVILLE EXTRAVAGANZA (Cut House Productions): Fringe review

Is your only experience with burlesque the 2010 Christina Aguilera / Cher movie? Never fear: the good people of Cut House Productions are here to help, with a show so…

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[74] BEYOND THE LIGHT (Leila Ghaznavi and Pantea Productions): Fringe review

Beyond the Light is a devised puppetry/theater/music/acrobatics/dance exploring unrequited love through whimsical, nighttime wonderment. A blonde boy and a black-haired girl stand in separate shadows, glimpsing one-another across a chasm…

Roots, AKA performance Fringe review

[73] ROOTS (AKA performance): Fringe review

AKA performance is a new dance collective, formed by young choreographers Katrina Atkin, Ann-Marie Gover, and Alessandra Delle Grotti to showcase their individual approaches to dance. Finding a good balance…

XY Scheherazade Unstuck Theater

[72] XY SCHEHERAZADE (Unstuck Theater): Fringe review

XY SCHEHERAZADE works very hard to conjure the moment when “a story that you’re telling a friend becomes, for a minute, a shared perspective.” But it deploys about every tool…

Stripped of Common Sense Philly Fringe

[71] STRIPPED OF COMMON SENSE (Joint Bender Productions): Fringe review

“Back to the grind. Literally.” So begins a shift for five young women, dancing for a living. Set in the dressing room of a strip club, STRIPPED OF COMMON SENSE…

ONE YEAR (MamaCITA Five)

[70] ONE YEAR (MamaCITA Five): Fringe review

Anyone stumbling into ONE YEAR by accident, like I did, will realize immediately that they had broken in on something transcendent. In front of a backdrop of white curtains, seven women…

BASEMENT (Gunnar Montana)

[69] BASEMENT (Gunnar Montana): Fringe Review

This is the only place where baby doll dismembering, Santa Claus chopping, guts wearing, head smashing, dub-step listening, and wrapping a woman in plastic are okay. Crawling into the BASEMENT…

EMANCIPATION SWEET, A PLAY WITH MUSIC (Theatre for Transformation)

[68] EMANCIPATION SWEET, A PLAY WITH MUSIC (Theatre for Transformation): Fringe review

Theatre for Transformation is a Lancaster-based company focused on performing African-American stories for diverse audiences. This active group has toured their original works to over 100 schools, college, faith groups,…

Lucinda's Bed Fringe review Brainspunk Theater

[67] LUCINDA’S BED (Brainspunk Theater): Fringe review

Mia McCullough’s LUCINDA’s BED has a great premise: a monster hiding under a young girl’s bed continues to haunt her into adulthood. The monster (Brendan Whelan) may take the form…

THE TALKBACK (The Berserker Residents)

[56.2] THE TALKBACK (Berserker Residents): Fringe review

You know that scene at the end of The Matrix (spoiler alert) where Neo sees the green code and jumps into Agent Smith’s belly and makes him explode, and then calls somebody…

HATCH (Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre): Fringe review

[66] HATCH (Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre): Fringe review

An exciting new company with a promising future, Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre presents a mini-festival of six short world-premiere performances in HATCH. Led by Artistic Director Melissa Rodis,…