Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens
EgoPo Classic Theater / 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival
Review by Rebecca Rendell | Season Schedule


Rob Tucker and Nick Ware
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Fringe Festival
EgoPo Classic Theater's Fringe Festival production of And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens is brutal. Tennessee Williams' lesser known one-act is unflinching in its depiction of the toxic relationship between queer interior decorator Candy and hard drinking sailor Karl. Lane Savadove creates an experience so earnest and intimate that watching the characters feels like a voyeuristic violation of trust. And Rob Tucker infuses soon to be middle-aged Candy with a vulnerability and desperation so raw it stings.

Tennessee Williams wrote And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens in 1957, but it was not produced until 2004, more than 20 years after his death. Even by today's standards the story of these New Orleans queens feels uncommonly authentic and more than a bit shocking. Seeing this production makes me wish it were staged more frequently.

The text is not the only extraordinary thing happening here. Tucker is mesmerizing, taking the audience along on a journey from deepest hope to abject self loathing. Nick Ware nails the role of Karl, impossibly cruel and yet clearly suffering through his own pain. The space is masterfully designed, allowing the audience to feel at though they are sitting beside Candy's Japanese-style garden or in her own elaborately decorated (lots of tulle and LED string lights) living room. Even the periodic pouring of champagne serves to heighten the emotional intensity of this remarkable production.

EgoPo Classic Theater's And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, through September 8, 2019, at the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia PA. Tickets are $20 and can be found at www.fringearts.com.

By Tennessee Williams
Director: Lane Savadove
Production Designer: Dane Eissler
Assistant Producer: Matt Basen

Cast:
Candy - Rob Tucker*
Karl - Nick Ware
Jerry - Charlie Barney
Alvin - Kerry Jules
*Actor appears courtesy of Actor's Equity Association


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