Made it to three Live Arts Festival shows this weekend, and they couldn’t have been more different.
In Charlotte Ford’s Bang (Christ Church Neighborhood House, through Wednesday) three of Philadelphia’s funniest clowns (think Lecoq, not Ringling Bros.) explore female sexuality with plenty of nudity (as in untrimmed, full frontal) and hilarious results. I laughed my ass off, although the show would have been much stronger without the final scene. Check it out while you can. Just leave the kids (and the hyper-conservative) at home.
Fans of Edgar Allan Poe and gorgeously designed theater won’t want to miss Red Eye to Havre de Grace (Suzanne Roberts Theatre, through Saturday) an “action-opera” about the final days of the poet. Red Eye is the stunning result of a collaboration between Philadelphia theater-maker extraordinaire Thaddeus Phillips and musical duo The Wilhem Bros. and is as spooky and beautiful as some of Poe’s finest works.
The responses to Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Zero Cost House (Arts Bank, through September 22nd) are varied. I saw Sunday afternoon’s matinee, which was nearly filled to capacity — at least when the show started. More than a few folks left at intermission, when one departing acquaintance and longtime Philly theater patron gave me her review: “God awful. Pig Iron is normally so inventive.” Toby Zinman of the Inquirer calls it “rubbish.” But it was anything but rubbish and uninventive. I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about it, and I’ll probably see it again before I make any final decision. Zero Cost House is most definitely weird, but not in the branded weird way that people have come to expect from Pig Iron. But that’s probably a good thing. As one Philadelphia restaurateur, also in the crowd on Sunday, told me: “It is the Fringe Festival. Experimental is part of the deal.”