Theater

The best source for independent coverage of Philadelphia theater.

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.

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

Anna K (Chris Davis): 2014 Fringe Review 40.2

It would be fun to call ANNA K an irreverent romp through Tolstoy’s 1870s novel, Anna Karenina, but in fact playwright Chris Davis reverences the material in his own way. For all its comedy, and there’s plenty in his South Philly-style version, the play scans the storyline and retains underlying issues.

UNDERGROUND EPISODES (Run Boy Run Productions): Fringe Review 52

UNDERGROUND EPISODES carries us from Olney to past City Hall and then back again in poems, half-spoken and half-recited, sometimes direct and sometimes inscrutable.

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.

NELLIE/NELLIE (Antigravity Theatre Project): Fringe Review 50

NELLIE/NELLIE combines whimsy and imagaination with the true story of American journalist Nellie Bly and her 10 days in a mental institution.

THE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, FORGET-ABOUT-IT, LAST NIGHT AT VON DAHM’S SPORTS BAR, WING HUT, AND KARAOKE PALACE (Actors International Theatre): Fringe Review 48

Some Fringe shows display great production values and artistic quality. VON DAHM’s isn’t one of those, but it’s still a joy.

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): 2014 Fringe Review 47

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

9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL (Walnut Street): Performance over plot

Sharp performances keep 9 TO 5 so consistently entertaining it masks a contrived plot and mediocre music and lyrics.

KIM COLES: OH, BUT WAIT . . . THERE’S MORE! (Kim Coles / Dir. Scotch Ellis Loring): Fringe Review 46

The actor, best known for work on “Living Single,” opens it all up with a solo show that is hilarious, hopeful, and surprisingly heartfelt.

BEN TO THE FUTURE (Salamé Studios): Fringe Review 45

The creative young minds of Salamé Studios have put together a show that anyone willing to try something untrodden will enjoy

MAD BLOOD AND OTHER BEAUTIES (A Plague On Both Your Houses): Fringe Review 44

This is no mere retelling of Romeo and Juliet. What we get is a conjuring, a blood-letting, a full-throated cry of rage.

BENT (Truth Be Told Productions): Fringe Review 43

Truth Be Told Productions BENT isn’t innovative, but it is a quality production of a culturally significant play.

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.

SAFE SPACE (Apocalypse Club): 2014 Fringe Review 39

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

The Conversation Starter: A Fringe show, a reviewer’s word choice, and why it’s good to talk

Conversations are not always comfortable, but when Colie McClellan had an issue with a Phindie review, she decided to start one.

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.