L-R: First Hand Woman, The Rake's Progress, and Humans Anonymous.
Day-after reviews of the Fringe's NEXT Stage Festival.
A smattering of the best-reviewed shows of the festival.
More reviews on this page.
Times: Jan 10 at 9:15 pm, Jan 11 at 3:15 pm, Jan 12 at 8:45 pm, Jan 13 at 7 pm, Jan 14 at 6:15 pm, Jan 15 at 7:15 pm, Jan 17 at 9 pm, Jan 18 at 5 pm.
In Kate Hewlett's sharp, witty play, the outwardly in-control but inwardly insecure Ellen (Michelle Giroux) is anonymously wooed by Jenny (Mayko Nguyen) with the help of Ellen's friend and employee Peter (Philip Graeme). This comedy of character avoids one-liners - though there are lots of laughs in director Andrew Hachey's fast-paced, well-acted production, many from Hewlett as Peter's loopy, cat-loving sib - and instead explores people's fears as well as their dreams, in the process breaking the fourth wall in a strikingly dramatic fashion. - JK
Cathy Murphy (left), David Christo and Viv Moore Rake it in.
THE RAKE'S PROGRESS: DO YOU KNOW WHERE TOM RAKEWELL IS?
Times: Jan 8 at 5 pm, Jan 9 at 7:45 pm, Jan 10 at 5:30 pm, Jan 11 at 9:15 pm, Jan 15 at 5:15 pm, Jan 16 at 9:15 pm, Jan 17 at 3 pm, Jan 18 at 7 pm.
Drawing on both the famous opera and the series of paintings that inspired it, adapters Autumn Smith (who also directs) and Cathy Murphy (who also performs) have created a thrillingly theatrical look at the decline and fall of Tom Rakewell (David Christo) in 18th century London. The stylized performances feel right for the material, and the design - especially a literal framing device - is especially imaginative. Don't miss this show. -GS
FIRST HAND WOMAN
Times: Jan 9 at 7:15 pm, Jan 10 at 5 pm, Jan 11 at 7:15 pm, Jan 13 at 6:30 pm, Jan 15 at 5:30 pm, Jan 16 at 5:30 pm, Jan 17 at 3:30 pm, Jan 18 at 9:15 pm.
A broken relationship fragments a woman's psyche into warring characters called Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression and Acceptance, who cope with their loss in various ways. Though Sarah Michelle Brown's script sometimes has the feel of an Oprah episode or a self-help book, director Esther Jun's vibrant production and a strong ensemble of performers evoke laughter and lots of approving, understanding nods from the audience. - JK