SECRETS (Tongue & Groove): Fringe Review 41

I’m admittedly not a huge fan of improv, but I’m glad I checked out Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater‘s SECRETS. This 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.

At the start, each member of the audience is prompted to write a personal secret (their own or someone else’s) on a card. The performers each begin by reading one card aloud, and can snag other secrets whenever necessary to drive the show. Winners from my night ranged from the dark: “I’m in love with my boyfriend’s best friend, and he knows, but neither of us are doing anything about it” (which became a pretty glorious confessional monologue by Matt Lydon, ending with “I don’t know if I’ll end up with Mark, I’ll have to see him with his pants off, and then we’ll know how to proceed!”) to the inane: “I hate it when people sneeze.”

Improv always begins with tension—the fear that the whole thing will fall apart—and Tongue & Groove teeters back and forth on the edge of that knife delivering a fair amount of hilarity. [Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.] Sept. 12-20, 2014. http://fringearts.com/event/tongue-groove-6/.

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About the author

Julius Ferraro

Julius Ferraro is a journalist, playwright, performer, and project manager in Philadelphia. He is co-founder of Curate This and editor-in-chief of thINKingDANCE. His recent plays include Parrot Talk, Micromania, and The Death and Painful Dismemberment of Paul W. Auster.