Philly Fringe Preview at Plays and Players (II)

by Walter Bender

The following is the second of 3 weekly articles about “On Stage Philadelphia – Philly Fringe Previews” at Plays and Players in Philadelphia.

Week 2 of the Philly Fringe Preview at Plays and Players showcased the more non-traditional theatre performances that we all associate with Philly Fringe. There were 10 different previews, encompassing theatre, dance and performance art.

Leading off the evening’s entertainment was “Man of Mystery”, a one-man show by Fred Siegel. Mr. Siegel is a magician and a very good story-teller. His show chronicles his transformation into the titular man of mystery. It appears to be a very enjoyable show…his preview was intriguing and very funny.

Next we had a glimpse of “The Jane Goodall Experience” by Hyphen – Nation Arts. Ms. Goodall is performed by Marcel Willions Foster, and the apes for the evening were Lindsay Anderson and Britney Hines. This was an interesting combination of dance, performance art, and drag parody. Kudos to all for their concentration and characters.

The third offering was “In Constant Perfection”, a very interesting combination of music and dance. According to their postcard, “Honest, fun, and vulnerable this interactive show demands joy and makes love with Dance, original and live music, masks, improve, and audio/video installations.” The preview had a guitar player and male dancer working together to create a beautiful story.

Next we had a medley by Dean Patrick Carvin, the conceiver/performer of “Broad Street Brawds – A Charmingly Offinsive Musical Romp.” Mr. Carvin did a medley suggested by the musical GYPSY, dressed as Mama Rose…an interesting slant on the classic divas of the stage.

The final show before intermission was “Insectinside” by Grounded Aerial. This was a beautiful dance routine, with the dancers portraying different insects. A combination of stilts, bungee lines and acrobatic moves kept the audience enthralled for the preview.

After intermission we had one of the short plays from “Dirty Laundry” by Secret Room Theatre. “Dirty Laundry” is a collection of five short comedies by Philadelphia area playwrights. The playlet we were treated to featured a young married couple dealing with cleaning out the remnants of the husband’s youth, including a very talkative t-shirt.

“More Better Life” by David Morley Barrett is a one-man show, with Mr. Barrett portraying a number of different characters from all over the world. I couldn’t get a good handle on the show from the preview we saw, unfortunately, but Mr. Barrett shows amazing flexibility of character.

Next we had “Zombies are Forever”, a variety performance by Foster Longo, Maureen Hayes and Josh Phillips. This seems to be an improv performance that includes audience participation, music and dance…featuring 2 zombies and a unicorn.

We had a visit from a classic character from history, in “Marx in Soho” by Iron Age Theatre. Bob Weick portrays Carl Marx, who comes to Philadelphia to clear his name and celebrate the memory of the late Howard Zinn. Mr. Weick did a wonderful job as Marx…I enjoyed this preview very much.

Closing out the evening’s preview was “A Crock of Schnitzel” by Barbara Pease Weber. According to the synopsis, “Recipe for A Crock of Schnitzel: one Bavarian busybody, two newlyweds, an antique cuckoo clock, a wormhole, a time warp, and an unplanned pregnancy.” In the sneak preview we saw little of that.

The Philly Fringe Fest has something for everyone. Tonight’s preview showed the variety of shows that one can expect during the 2-weeks in September. There is one more preview this coming Monday evening. I encourage you to come see what Plays and Players has assembled to finish out their 3-week series.

2010 Phildelphia Fringe Preview
August 16, 23 and 30, 2010
Plays and Players Theatre
1714 Delancey Place
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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