The Fringe Festival ended yesterday. Here are three more reviews. We will post more as the final reviews are turned in. In this post: Sister Cities, The Black Glass and I Do Card Tricks and I’m Funny
by Tony Bartolone~
STAGES Theatre brings us a psychological deconstruction of four sisters and their bond to their recently deceased mother. Sister Cities is a brave exploration of the relationships of a unique family dynamic.
Playwright Colette Freedman draws incredibly detailed characters and spins a caustic web of titillating dialogue. Each sister is impressively well defined, which makes it a pleasure to watch the four girls interact under intense circumstances. They are all named after the city in which they were born (hence the title), which demonstrates the tendency of siblings to have wildly different personalities, as well as reflecting their respective individuality.
Themes of control, manipulation, death, family, success and failure run through this play like blood pulsating through interconnected veins. The play is dense and layered with intricate ideas and emotions played out through an absorbing story. How much control do we have of our own lives? How far would you go to take control? And how much influence do other people have on our lives? Underneath all the manipulation, quiet failures and abrasive arguments, there is a true love these sisters have for one another. No matter how hard you try, you cannot escape your family.
by Marcus Kaye ~
It’s a single image, more than it’s a narrative: Two men standing at an office window in downtown Los Angeles. It’s how Guy Zimmerman’s original play, The Black Glass, begins and ends.
John Lacy plays Donald Bentham, a business tycoon whose power and greed are jeopardizing his daughter’s future. In his office- or perhaps just his mind- are three figures dressed in black and red: Thomas, Dawn and Adana. While he stands at the window, Donald’s guests help him to work out the issues going on in his mind. They speak in nonsensical riddles and relay stage directions out loud, stopping only once in a while to grope one another- because in Zimmerman’s world, that’s what the subconscious of a perverted business man would do.
Zimmerman’s message about capitalism is lost in his writing; it’s overwrought and self important and any chance of a solid performance is clouded by the pretentious manner in which The Black Glass is presented.
The Black Glass played on June 17th, 19th, and 24th at The Open Fist Theatre.
by Tony Bartolone~
Jon Armstrong wows the crowd with a large variety of card tricks and witty discourse in the aptly named, I Do Card Tricks and I’m Funny. This show is an intimate, entertaining demonstration of Armstrong’s tricky skills, which achieve the feeling of watching street magic.
The show easily sustains itself through the tight hour running time and maintains its charm throughout. One thing appreciable about magic shows is that magicians are entertainers in the classical sense. They are there to wow you, make you laugh, give you something you don’t see everyday. They make an effort to not just do magic tricks, but give you a genuinely exciting experience. It’s not enough to do card tricks; they have to be funny too.
Jon Armstrong has a real command of the show. I suppose magicians have to control of all factors on order to pull off their illusions. On top of being an accomplished sleight-of-hand performer, Jon Armstrong is now the co-creator of Smoke and Mirrors, a magic themed comic book. Whether it’s his comic books or his live show, you should definitely check out Jon Armstrong.