WEAR AND TEAR (The Back Pack): 2019 Fringe review

Sketch by Chuck Schultz with Yumna Tolaimate.
Sketch by Chuck Schultz with Yumna Tolaimate.

WEAR AND TEAR was all about non-speaking storytelling. Backpacks were made to act as sketch books, and they wear them and tear the papers out as the scene moves forward. The dance moves and electronic music that accompanied introspective stories and mini subplots showed a sense of fun and tactfulness. Sometimes there was a vengeful nature, but in-between sets when the strobe lights revolve around, “I got it from my daddy!” they moved quickly in sync.

The cast is all on the same page. Pete Betcher was cleaning up the leaves dropped by Cami Alys, whom played a tree, and Katie Kohler as the wind. And Delanté G. Keys later on as the center of an orbit—a solar system—as Katie Kohler is made to run into the audience at Philly Improv Theater to make a full rotation around the sun.

The physical comedy troupe is on que, and each piece pulls the audience into the story. A chess game, secret agent squirrels, or a chemical reaction brings even the smallest particles to life.

[Philly Improv Theater at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street] September 5–8, 2019; fringearts.com/event/wear-and-tear

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