2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Review: ‘Nip’ at Tattoo Mom

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“Who’s really sucking on who?” That’s the tagline to Nip, one of the most daring and shocking shows in this year’s Fringe Festival. Nip, written by Noemi Charlotte Thieves and directed by Amanda Holston, is gritty, sexy, and downright fun to watch. It tackles sexuality, sex itself, and the bonds of female friendship. The show is put on in Tattoo Mom at 530 South Street (so yes, this is a 21+ play, sorry to all you underage folks) which is perfect for a show that leaves you feeling a little dirty and kind of sticky…in a good way. [Fair warning, there IS nudity in this show so if you have an issue with the naked female body, you might not want to go, which would be your loss.]

Photo courtesy of Fringe Arts.
Photo courtesy of Fringe Arts.

Let me just say, the trio of ladies that Holston and Thieves found for this show are spot-on matches to their characters. Jillian Schwab is downright FEARLESS as the burlesque dancer Blonde Mona, and captivates the entire time. Christine Doidge is a wonderfully vulnerable Jessie that gives the play it’s needed tender moments. Lani Skelley plays 16 year-old Meg and brings the humor with the innocence and naivety of a high school student that just wants to know what it’s like to get laid. All three women own their performances and completely expose themselves while we, the audience, are only 5 feet away. Obviously these women could not have had these stellar performances without the dynamic script that Thieves wrote. It’s witty, funny, and never drags. There are eye opening flashbacks, a rap and some beautiful poems sprinkled in. Thieves gave the actors a unique and one of a kind script and they did it justice.

The show fits perfectly in the back room of the second floor in Tattoo Mom. Holston does a wonderful job of using what she’s got. She took the old bumper car in the corner and made it into the car that takes the characters across Canada. Found tables and chairs transform into a coffee shop and since the walls are covered in graffiti, Thieves and Holston made an awesome wheat past that they plastered up to show location. Her use of the space is extremely smart and even though it’s a small little room, I never felt trapped or bored. The play still moved at a good pace, despite the tiny stage. The songs chosen to underscore the show fit extremely well and the lighting is simple but effective. Fun fact, Thieves built the circuit board FROM SCRATCH for this show. If that doesn’t tell you how smart this whole thing is, I don’t know what will. This show is a riot and a must see. Seriously.

Running Time: Approximately 75 minutes, with no intermission.

NIP plays through September 23, 2016 at The 2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival performing at Tattoo Mom – 530 South Street, in Philadelphia, PA. For tickets, purchase them online.

LINK:
2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival Interview: Amanda Holston, Director of ‘Nip’ by Tori Mittelman.

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