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Archive | Philadelphia Theatre Reviews

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: ‘Tilda Swinton Adopt Me Please’ by The Greenfield Collective at the Asian Arts Initiative

Both laugh-out-loud funny and intensely affecting, The Greenfield Collective makes its powerful mark on the Fringe with Tilda Swinton Adopt Me Please, an original work devised by Nicholas Scheppard and Hannah Van Sciver, who star as a pair of excitable, unconventional, and inseparable twins with a passion for British movie star Tilda Swinton. Directed with […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Iphigenia at Aulis’ by the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective at the USS Olympia

“What gods?” asks the devastated Clytemnestra after the sacrifice of her first-born daughter Iphigenia, in The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective’s Fringe adaptation of Iphigenia at Aulis. The ancient tale from the Trojan War, recounted by Euripedes circa 406 BC (and using the translation by Florence M. Stawell for the current production), raises universal, and often conflicting, […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes’ by Almanac at the Painted Bride Art Center

Did you ever want to sail away from it all and begin anew with a circle of like-minded friends? That’s what the figures in Almanac’s Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes do, in a decision that tests their individual commitment to the shared utopian goal and their trust in each other’s support – both emotionally […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Strange Tenants’ by Sam Tower + Ensemble at Power Plant Productions

Evincing the seminal inspiration of Fringe mainstays Pig Iron Theatre Company and New Paradise Laboratories, Strange Tenants is the latest original work developed in Sam Tower + Ensemble’s characteristic method and experimental style. A mash-up of ensemble-devised neo-expressionist movement, a script that parodies the mid-20th-century genre of film noir, and a critical feminist eye on […]

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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: ‘Labor of Love’ by The WaitStaff at L’Étage Cabaret

Philadelphia sketch-comedy icon, and longest-running annual act in the history of the Fringe, The WaitStaff marks its seventeenth year of participation with an all-new Labor of Love. Directed by the delightfully outrageous Eric Singel and featuring thirteen original skits performed by the hysterically impudent Jim Boyle, Sara Carano, Joanne Cunningham, Gerre Garrett, and Chris McGovern, […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘. . . strand . . .’ by JUNK at Grays Ferry Crescent Trail Park

A transportive adventure awaits Fringe-goers in JUNK’s . . . strand . . ., as Brian Sanders and his stunning troupe contemplate the enigma of the time-space continuum in a dreamlike meditation on the evolution of civilization, in which the here-and-now, history, and posterity merge into one. Staged throughout “Forgotten Bottom” (Grays Ferry Crescent Trail […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘United’ by The Revivalists at the Betsy Ross House

Performed in the candlelit courtyard of the historic Betsy Ross House and opening in the 2017 Fringe on September 9 – the same date, in 1776, that the Second Continental Congress declared our Colonies the United States of America – The Revivalists’ United, conceived and directed by Ben Smallen, is a well-researched and deeply-felt union of […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Fishtown – A Hipster Noir’ by Tribe of Fools at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake

A spot-on parody of the retro-style of film noir in a hilarious send-up of our ever-growing post-modern obsession with social media and technology, Fishtown – A Hipster Noir reaffirms Tribe of Fools’ standing as a perennial favorite in the Philadelphia Fringe. Written by Caitlin Weigel and directed by Peter Smith, the hysterically sharp-witted show will […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘As the Matzo Ball Turns – The Musical’ by Heart of a Lion Productions at the Independence Seaport Museum

A ten-year account of the failed pursuit of his Hollywood dreams, Gene Duffy’s As the Matzo Ball Turns – The Musical is an ambitious stage adaptation of the eponymous 2012 autobiographical chronicle by small-town Pennsylvania native Jozef Rothstein (Duffy’s pen name) – an aspiring actor earning his living as a waiter in a Jewish deli […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Pericles’ by Die-Cast at The Rotunda

Brainchild of Director Brenna Geffers and Designer Thom Weaver, the newly-formed Die-Cast makes its public premiere in the 2017 Fringe Festival with an arresting re-envisioning of the rarely-produced Shakespearean epic Pericles. Commissioned by the international Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown for presentation later this month on Cape Cod, the Philadelphia-based company’s original version of the […]

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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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