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Archive | 2017-2018 Theater Season

2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘A Period of Animate Existence’ by Pig Iron Theatre Company

If you open the dictionary and look up the word ‘life,’ one entry reads: ‘a period of animate existence.’ Composer Troy Herion gives this explanation for the title of Pig Iron Theatre Company’s newest work. A Period of Animate Existence is the largest project Pig Iron has ever taken on: it has 87 performers, including […]

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Maeve Höglund. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: World Premiere of ‘The Wake World’ by Opera Philadelphia

Inside a museum dedicated to art from the past, the O17 Festival has brought a new opera which celebrates musical and literary styles from the past. Composer/librettist David Hertzberg built upon musical forms from the same time period, a century ago, when Albert Barnes was acquiring his unique collection. This is a clever, site-specific staging […]

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Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: Sondra Radvanovsky in Recital at Opera Philadelphia

Sondra Radvanovsky’s recital as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival was a spectacular event. That may seem like an oxymoron to some readers, who expect singer/pianist recitals to be intimate communions. She is a tall, majestic-looking woman with a huge voice. Here she entered what was, for her, the unfamiliar territory of small-scaled personal communication, […]

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Virginia Barrie and Susan Dewey. Photo courtesy South Camden Theatre Company.

Review: ‘Ripcord’ at South Camden Theatre Company

Ripcord is the story of a cutthroat battle of practical jokes and dirty tricks between two women in an assisted-living residence for the elderly. Does that seem unlikely? Then you’ve never met Abby and Marilyn, who aren’t your typical little old ladies. In David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy, Abby has made an art of being difficult. She’s angered […]

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Mierka Girten, Michael Shannon, and John Judd. Photo by Richard Termine.

Review: ‘Simpatico’ at McCarter Theatre Center

“Do you want to talk, or do you want to be cryptic and weird?” Those words – which sound like they might belong in a lot of Sam Shepard’s plays – appear in the first scene of Shepard’s Simpatico. And they set the tone for this sometimes cryptic, sometimes weird, but always riveting production at […]

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Review: ‘Cheeks’ at Plays and Players Theatre

First things first: Lee Minora’s solo show Cheeks is a laugh riot. Do not miss an opportunity to see this show. It is both whip smart and hysterical (both in the colloquial meaning and a feminist punning take on the word’s original meaning). In Cheeks, Minora plays a struggling actor, “Lee Minora,” who has delightedly […]

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Funny Girl logo, Candlelight Dinner Theatre

Review: ‘Funny Girl’ at Candlelight Dinner Theatre

What would you rather see: Fanny Brice singing on a tugboat in New York harbor, or a real live Fanny Brice in the Ziegfeld Follies? Funny Girl, the original 1964 Broadway musical, is a real stage animal, revisiting a classic era of American theatre. Most of its scenes are about theatre life and are set […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘I, Peaseblossom’ by Curio Theatre Company at The Woodlands Cemetery

I, Peaseblossom, written by Tim Crouch and directed by Dan Hodge, is a fun, magical way to become more familiar with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The dreams of the fairy Peaseblossom (Brian McCann) are filled with wondrous things: sleepy star-crossed Athenian lovers lost in a forest, his mistress Titania kissing an ass (donkey) named […]

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Daniela Mack. Photo by Steven Pisano.

Review: ‘Elizabeth Cree’ at Opera Philadelphia

The British statesman Winston Churchill coined the expression, “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” He was speaking of the Soviet Union. The quotation, however, also could be applied to Elizabeth Cree, the murder-mystery opera which had its world premiere Thursday night, launching Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival of five productions within […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Airswimming’ by Half Key Theatre Company at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5

Airswimming, Charlotte Jones’ play about two Englishwomen stuck in a mental institution for no good reason, walks – or should that be swims? – a fine line between sly humor and sensitivity. It’s received a lovely production at the Fringe. Dora and Persephone are two young women who have been consigned to Saint Dymphna Hospital […]

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Forrest McClendon. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Review: ‘Red Velvet’ at Lantern Theater Company

A scarlet curtain lines the stage of the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, London with a controversy lurking on either side. Outside, angry Londoners flood the streets protesting the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act just recently passed in Parliament. Inside, the cast of Othello objects to the addition of Ira Aldridge, one of the first high […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act’ by Blue Mercury Theatre at Independence Library

For the great South African playwright Athol Fugard, the personal is political. And nowhere is that more true than in Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, a 1972 Fugard play, based on a real-life 1966 case, about two lovers – a black man and a white woman – torn apart by the country’s […]

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Michael Gamache. Photo by Shawn May.

Review: ‘Aesop’s Fables’ at Quintessence Theatre Group

All of the characters in Lee Cortopassi’s colorful cartoon-like adaptation of Aesop’s Fables sparkle, and speak, just like the original ones drawn up way back circa 600 B.C. But they also snap, crackle and pop with super-duper sound effects, designed by Daniel Ison, cool lighting concocted by Joseph Glodek, and an exceptionally savvy ensemble. Aesop’s […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Life Lines’ by Tangle Movement Arts at Neighborhood House

Life Lines is a new, collectively-developed work by the all-female ensemble Tangle Movement Arts. Tangle’s work is mostly derived from circus arts, particularly aerial performance on trapeze and silks, accompanied by music, live and recorded. Tangle describes Life Lines as “aerial dance and vertical drama” depicting “the chain reaction of a community healing after sudden […]

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