September 2, 2014

All 2014 Fringe Festival coverage

Fringe Festival news and reviews from Howard Shapiro, Peter Crimmins,  and the NewsWorks team.

This photo, from the production of '100% London,' shows much the same stage arrangement as in '100% Philadelphia.' Participants divide into groups representing the answers to questions. (Photo courtesy of Tim Mitchell)
September 20, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival review: '100% Philadelphia,' really

It may not be everyone's idea of "theater," but the final Philly Fringe-produced show of the festival is nevertheless a dramatic event that can be touching, moving and at times, revealing. It's called "100% Philadelphia," from a Germany-based theater company called Rimini Protokoll, and it paints a living picture of who we are as a city.

(L to R) Martha Michael, Jim Harris, Lynda Chen, Molly Mahoney and Ed Feldman. (Photo courtesy of Gary Reed)
September 19, 2014 | Mt. Airy

Mt. Airy Home Companion heads to West Philly for Fringe

When G-town Radio Morning Feed host Ed Feldman came down from Northwest Philadelphia to 40th and Walnut as the special guest star in the latest "Mt. Airy Home Companion" show, he noticed one thing very quickly.

September 19, 2014 | THE FRINGE FESTIVAL

Experimental play tries to put Philadelphia on a stage

 OK, here's your task.

Create a portrait of Philadelphia that could convey to people at a glance the variety, the complexity, the scale and the idiosyncrasies of the city.

How would you do it?

Jess Barbagallo as the quarterback in 'In the Pony Palace/FOOTBALL' from Half Straddle, and part of the Philly Fringe Festival. (Photo courtesy of Shameel Arafin)
September 18, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival review: 'In the Pony Palace'

I feel good! I feel mean! I feel strong! That's the mantra of the football team called the Owls. (Not the Temple Owls, another Owls.) They're indeed a group of athletes who are mean, strong and everything else a high school football player might be.

Except male.

Aaron Cromie as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 'The Body Lautrec,' produced independently by Cromie and Mary Tuomanen. (Photo courtesy of Jacques-Jean Tiziou)
September 15, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival reviews: 'The Body Lautrec' and 'The Rape of Lucrece'

A duo of reviews from Howie Shapiro; "The Body Lautrec," and "The Rape of Lucrece."

Bob Stineman and Leila Ghaznavi in 'Broken Wing,' from Leila and Pantea Productions. (Photo courtesy of JJ Tiziou.)
September 14, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival reviews: 'Broken Wing,' 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame...a Mute Play' and 'Anna K'

A trio of Fringe Festival reviews from Howie Shapiro; "Broken Wing," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame...a Mute Play," and "Anna K."

The cast of 'The Four Seasons Restaurant' at the Philly Fringe Festival, either birthing a character or sending her to the afterlife. (Photo courtesy of Christophe Raynoud de Lage)
September 13, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival review: 'The Four Seasons Restaurant'

The extraordinary, brazenly abstract "The Four Seasons Restaurant," which FringeArts has brought to this year's festival, is an event and an experience as much as it is a performance. The 10 women of the Socìetas Raffaelo Sanzio troupe, led by the theater artist Romeo Castellucci, create a 90-minute theatrical treatise on absence – a wildly unusual piece that also explores desire, need and loss.

Peter Andrew Danzig (left) and Zachary Chiero as star-crossed Mummers in the Tribe of Fools production of its original 'Two Street.' (Photo courtesy of Plate3Photography)
September 9, 2014

Fringe Festival review: 'Two Street'

The problem for Ronnie and Jules is not that they're gay and falling for each other. The problem is, the relationship appears star-crossed from the very start: They're members of two different Mummers brigades.

Josh McIlvain and one of the slides appearing in his show. (Courtesy of Josh McIlvain)
September 12, 2014 | Northwest Philadelphia

Reviving real-life slideshows, with a twist: Your guide to Fringe in NW Philly [Part 2 of 2]

Most people of a certain age have a memory of something very distinctive, Chestnut Hill native Josh McIlvain said, and for this year's Fringe Festival (Sept. 5 through 21), he's tapping that experience in a new way.

Susan Chase at home in Mt. Airy. (J.Woods/for The Pulse)
September 11, 2014 | The Pulse

Battling cancer and making theater: 'Susan's Undoing'

The shattering news came, as it does for many women, after Susan Chase had a routine mammogram. 

One of the plays opening this weekend during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival is
September 12, 2014 | The Pulse

Mütter Museum serves as magnet for artists looking for inspiration

One of the plays opening this weekend during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival is "The Body Lautrec," about the famous 19th century French painter, Henri Toulouse Lautrec, and his bones.

The cast of 'Theorem.' Greg Kennedy is in the center. (Courtesy of FringeArts)
September 11, 2014 | Germantown

Philly Fringe brings Cirque du Soleil juggler back to Germantown

It's amazing enough to watch someone with the focus and dexterity to turn a handful of objects into a circling toss-and-catch waterfall, but with a performer like Germantown's Greg Kennedy, it's not juggling so much as conjuring a small, whirling galaxy with his bare hands.

Experiment 39 is the Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure's unusual walking tour of Old City. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
September 10, 2014 | Listen

Fringe Festival show promising 'most unusual walking tour' delivers [map]

With so many shows playing at this year's Philadelphia Fringe Festival, it's tough to know what to check out.  And while "Experiment 39" opened and closed this past weekend, we thought it was so unusual that it was worth talking about.   

Mary Mattingly's 'WetLand' looks like a rowhouse sinking into the Delaware, surrounded by floating gardens. (Elisabeth Perez-Luna/WHYY)
September 8, 2014

As Fringe installation, 'WetLand' floats ideas of crisis, survival and adventure

Alongside the river wall on Delaware Avenue, outside Philadelphia's Independence Seaport Museum, visitors will encounter a strange sight -- a large floating house that looks like it's sinking. 

Ethan Lipkin (left) and David Stanger in the Ideopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium's production of 'Rhinoceros.' (Photo courtesy of Johanna Austin)
September 8, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival reviews: 'Rhinoceros' and 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit'

A duo of reviews from Howie Shapiro; Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium's "Rhinoceros," and "White Rabbit Red Rabbit," from FringeArts.

The cast of New Paradise Laboratories' 'The Adults,' a part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. (Photo courtesy of plate3photography)
September 7, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival reviews: 'The Adults,' '99 Breakups' and 'Suspended'

A trio of Fringe Festival reviews from Howie Shapiro; "The Adults," "99 Breakups," and "Suspended."

Martha Graham Cracker performed with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra Friday, and then with her band, at the newly opened Fringe Arts Building. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)
September 6, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Performance, party scene, new building and Martha: 2014 Fringe Festival begins [photos]

The 2014 Philly Fringe Festival had officially begun, with 135 shows and attractions in a wide swath of the city. But nowhere was the action — or the scene — more heady on Friday night than at the corner of Race Street and Columbus Boulevard.

Jennifer Childs and Anthony Lawton in 1812 Productions' version of 'Intimate Exchanges.' The show opens its season and is also part of the Philly Fringe Festival. (Photo courtesy of Mark Garvin)
September 5, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

Fringe Festival review: 'Intimate Exchanges'

The annual Philly Fringe Festival opens Friday night, but the curtain rose early on one entry that's also the season starter for 1812 Productions, the city's stage company devoted to comedy. Although the play, "Intimate Exchanges," is not new – Sir Alan Ayckbourn wrote it in 1982 – it befits a Fringe Festival because of the unusual way the show moves forward.

Dito van Reigersberg is Martha Graham Cracker. He recently sat down to discuss what makes the fictional Graham Cracker a bold, larger-than-life stage presence. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
September 5, 2014 | LISTEN

Meet the man behind Philly drag queen Martha Graham Cracker

There's plenty of free late-night entertainment this month during Philadelphia's Fringe Festival. But nothing screams Philly quite like the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, a regular show fronted by Pig Iron Theatre's Dito van Reigersberg as the eponymous drag queen.

Members of the Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure, the resenters of 'Experiment #39 Old City' in the Fringe Festival. They are, from left, Andrew Goldberg, Emily Rea, Liza Wade Green and Radoslaw Konopka. (Photo courtesy of Steven Dufala)
September 3, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

The fringiest of the Philly Fringe Festival (we think)

A friend complained that the trouble with the Fringe Festival, the heady conglomeration of theater, dance and art that opens on Friday night, is that it's "not Fringe-y enough." He had been scanning the 135 offerings just before coming to that conclusion.

Nick Stuccio is president and producing director of Fringe Arts. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
September 3, 2014 | LISTEN

No longer 'nomadic,' Fringe Arts debuts new building for this year's festival

Philadelphia's Fringe Festival officially begins Friday.

This year's menu of theater, dance, music and other artistic works will bring festival-goers to locations all over the city as well as some suburban venues over the course of 16 days.

Diners gathered last week for a test run at La Peg, the restaurant that will open this weekend inside the new FringeArts building, headquarters of the Fringe Festival. The restaurant is also the site of the popular nightly after-show Fringe bar. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Monko)
September 2, 2014 | Shapiro on Theater

17 shows I want to see at the 2014 Fringe Festival

It’s a crap shoot – and that’s one of the best things about the Fringe Festival. So often, you don’t know what you’re going to get. It could be cutting-edge and terrific, or dull-bladed and bland. Or in between. It could be new and inventive. Or something more typical, and all along the range of quality. 

A scene from the newly-formed Manayunk Theatre Company's 'Splatter.' (Courtesy of Sean Connolly)
September 2, 2014 | Northwest Philadelphia

Pig masks, juggling and more: Your guide to Fringe in Northwest Philly [Part 1 of 2]

For Roxborough native Sean Connolly, it all got started when a trip to an Edinburgh hotel room turned out to be much creepier than he bargained for.

August 19, 2014

FringeArts offers double feature: Dining and theater

When the Fringe Festival begins after Labor Day in Philadelphia, it will launch a new combination theater and restaurant as the hub of year-round experimental performance. It may also usher in the future of the Delaware River waterfront.

August 1, 2014

In advance of Fringe Festival, 'WetLand' promises immersive art experience

It's almost time for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the "menu" includes active participation, intimate monologues, boisterous dances and intriguingly strange performances.

Featuring 130 shows in all, the Fringe offerings will take place at its new headquarters and in neighborhood venues all over the city.

In advance of the official Fringe opening in September, one ambitious installation is taking shape now on the Delaware waterfront.

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