TWO STREET: A TALE OF STAR-CROSSED MUMMERS (Tribe of Fools): Fringe Review 12.2

Shakespeare meets South Philly in Tribe of Fools’ TWO STREET, a high-energy take on Romeo and Juliet through the perspective of a contemporary gay couple. But here the tale of star-crossed lovers is comic, not tragic, as Ronnie and Jules, mummers from two competing Fancy Brigades, practice and perform their New Year’s routines, deal with their opinionated siblings and friends, and consider the differences between eternal love and the short-lived giddiness of being in love with love (in a hilarious sequence of skipping hand-in-hand, looking longingly into each other’s eyes, and sharing water ice and cheesesteaks). Writers Nick Mazzuca, Terry Brennan (who also directs), and Peter Smith (with additional text provided by the ensemble), morph Shakespeare’s exquisite language into the distinctive expressions, (mis)pronunciations, and vulgarities of Philadelphia’s “blue-collar assholes.” Glitzy costumes (Becca Austin), entertaining choreography and fight direction (Tim Popp and Michael Cosenza), and a wood-paneled, flag-draped clubhouse interior (set and props by Christopher Haig) parody the look and feel of Philadelphia mummery in all its kitschy glory.

Tribe of Fools, TWO STREET, phto Kate RainesPeter Andrew Danzig as the love-smitten Jules (whose polished dance moves steal the show and capture the Mummers’ Parade prizes) and Zachary Chiero as the noncommittal Ronnie have great stage chemistry and demonstrate the expression “opposites attract.” Ronnie’s tough, foul-mouthed, promiscuous sister Marcie (Isa St. Clair), raucous mummers’ costumer Jo (Karina Balfour), and Jules’s volatile but devoted brother Ty (Peter Smith) offer their unsolicited advice, at high decibel levels, to the couple they’d like to break up. In the end, although these post-modern lovers from rival groups exchange liquor bottles and Grindr messages rather than marriage vows, Shakespeare’s timeless message about acceptance, co-existence, and the triumph of love comes through loud and clear! [Church of the Crucifixion, 620 S. 8th St.] September 4-13, 2014; http://fringearts.com/event/two-street-a-tale-of-star-crossed-mummers-12.

Read another Phindie review of TWO STREET.

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.