Regional Reviews: Philadelphia
Philadelphia 2013 Fringe Festival Roundup:
Running less than an hour, the show seems too short; the story of Joan's trial needs to be given as much attention as the battles she led. And the prologue that Cromie performsthe stories of the saints Joan saw in her visions (Saints Catherine, Margaret and Michael), told via paper cut-outs and storyboardsneeds some polish. But even in what appears to be an early stage of development, Saint Joan, Betrayed is already captivating.
With her angular cheekbones and short, blunt hairstyle, Tuomanen looks like she's stepped out of a 15th century triptych. It's fitting that she's playing Joan of Arc. And when you see Saint Joan, Betrayed, you will, like Joan herself, see many wonders.
Saint Joan, Betrayed runs through September 14 at Theatre Exile's Studio X, 1340 South 13th Street, Philadelphia.
I first saw this play when it ran Off-Broadway two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I'm sad to report that Daniel O'Neill's direction here for Round Table Theatre Company doesn't hit all the heights Completeness is capable of. The scene where Elliot dumps his previous girlfriend plays more like melodrama than comedy, robbing Elliot of much of the audience's sympathy. The decision to restrain the eroticism in the sex scene doesn't work either; the contrast between the characters' sexual and intellectual sides doesn't seem as stark as it should. And the scene that revolves around a supposed technical breakdown (the script's only significant misstep) doesn't seem plausible in a low-budget production with no large moving sets.
A bold play like Completeness needs a bold staging. Round Table does a good job, but let's hope a local company gives this sharp, edgy comedy the treatment it deserves soon.
Completeness runs through Saturday, September 14, 2013, and is presented by Round Table Theatre at the University of the Arts' Caplan Studio Theatre, 211 South Broad Street, 16th Floor, Philadelphia.
Savanah Knechel's repetitive script doesn't have much insight about what makes young kids tick, and there's not much wit either (except for one funny passage that parodies a movie from 1969). But director Jessica Schwartz gives the hour-long show a good amount of energy, and the cast is attractive and enthusiastic.
Modern Playground runs through September 14, 2013, at the Arts Bank, 601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.