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Archive | Philly Reviews

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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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Cymbeline’ by Revolution Shakespeare at Hawthorne Park

For its fourth annual Fringe offering, Revolution Shakespeare returns to South Philadelphia’s Hawthorne Park with another free outdoor selection from the Bard’s canon. This year’s production (and the company’s best yet!) is Cymbeline, a rarely-seen work first presented in 1611, inspired by a tale from the history of ancient Britain and Rome, and subsequently classified […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Joan Crawford in Her Own Words’ by JC Productions at Tabu Lounge & Bar

Created by Michael McHugh, directed by Peter Tupitza, and starring the fabulous Eric Singel, JC Productions’ revival of Joan Crawford in Her Own Words reunites the show’s original team for a revamped version of their 1990s hit, with some newly added material for the current Fringe presentation. As indicated by the title, the up-close-and-personal direct-address […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Bind’ by Corinna Burns at The Drake

Corinna Burns is not just skilled at acting, she’s also a superb writer and an enthralling storyteller, and she’s proving it once again in this year’s Fringe Festival with Bind. Her latest original work-in-development is an X-rated autobiographical exposé, presented as a script-in-hand solo reading in which she reminisces about her first year in Philadelphia […]

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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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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘#CocktailPlays’ by Juniper Productions at Philadelphia Distilling

For its inaugural offering in the Fringe, Juniper Productions, founded earlier this year, partners with Philadelphia Distilling for a themed site-specific presentation of four commissioned short plays, performed by three actors, in one hour. The quick-paced round of one-act #CocktailPlays, directed by Marcia Ferguson and produced by Sonya Aronowitz, considers stories and issues, from the […]

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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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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘(insert thoughts here)’ by Bradley’s Bucks at Franky Bradley’s

In a delectable mash-up of the 2017 Fringe with an extended Restaurant Week, Franky Bradley’s gives festival-goers the option of enjoying dinner while attending the latest all-new offering by its all-male resident dance troupe Bradley’s Bucks, as dancers Tommy Schimmel, Teddy Fatscher, William Burden, Misha King, and Jake Van Horn (who just joined the herd) […]

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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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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Marx in Soho’ by Iron Age Theatre/Radical Acts at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia

Actor and activist Bob Weick is back in the Fringe with his signature touring show Marx in Soho by Howard Zinn, which he first performed in the festival in 2004. Presented by Iron Age Theatre/Radical Acts and directed by John Doyle, the current production commemorates the upcoming 200th anniversary of the revolutionary socialist’s birth in […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Mistress of the Maze’ by WeftWorks at CHI Movements Art Center

Hypnotic, transportive, and exquisitely beautiful, Mistress of the Maze marks the unforgettable debut of WeftWorks with its stunning world-premiere performance in the 2017 Fringe. Created, choreographed, and designed by Sarah Carr – an exceptionally gifted multi-disciplinary artist and recent transplant to Philadelphia, who launched the project earlier this year – the original work showcases her […]

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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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Rebecca Robbins. Photo courtesy of Walnut Street Theatre.

Review: ‘Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins’ at Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio on 3

How is theatre superior to film or TV? What special magic is found in live performance? This question is superbly answered in Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Stephen Temperley’s hilarious and oddly touching play at the Walnut Street Theatre. Leading lady Rebecca Robbins is a trained opera singer, yet she […]

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2017 FringeArts Festival Philadelphia

2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Death Is a Cabaret Ol’ Chum’ by REV Theatre Company at Laurel Hill Cemetery

As you enter through the gates and into the courtyard of historic Laurel Hill Cemetery, you are offered your choice of a complimentary cocktail with an appropriately lethal name, while listening to recordings of immortal show-tunes, pop hits, and cabaret songs. Once the sun goes down, you are led through the dark paths of the […]

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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: ‘The Groom’s a Fag; The Bride’s a Cunt; The Best Man’s a Whore; and the Maiden of Honor (Just) Hung Herself in the Closet’ by On the Rocks at The Beard Cave at St. Mary’s Church

What do you get when you mix over-the-top parody with uncensored vulgarity with pure poetry? The Groom’s a Fag; The Bride’s a Cunt; The Best Man’s a Whore; and the Maiden of Honor (Just) Hung Herself in the Closet – On the Rocks’ original “haunted wedding” fantasia, latest late-night Fringe offering, and the third and […]

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