Monday, August 17, 2009

Natural History (FringeNYC)

By Ben

BOTTOM LINE: Strong acting, creative directing and smart writing carry beyond what initially seems to be a clichéd premise to reveal an engaging emotional story of a modern day young woman.

Natural History is a very strong piece. I did not know what to expect going in to the show at the Soho Playhouse, but I was pleasantly surprised by Sweeter Theater Productions new play. At first, I thought this was a typical piece of obvious Fringe Theater: a young woman standing behind a velvet rope on display at the Museum of Natural History? Really?

It turns out to be a well-written and sharply directed modern day anywoman tale that is quite moving. Each scene got better and more intriguing as the show went on walking a smart balance between dark humor fun and emotionally gripping truths. The actors Robyn Frank, Andrea Gallo, Simon Kendall and Franny Silverman deserve a nod for their ability to deliver truthful, compelling characters that I loved seeing evolve on stage.

Nothing is over the top in Natural History. A few nods to the audience are a bit fun, and it's a quality piece of live theater overall. I’d love to see more work done by the Sweeter Theater Production team and if you have a chance to do see this one at the festival, go for it.

(Natural History plays at the Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street between 6th Avenue and Varick. Performances are Wednesday 8/19 at 5:30, Friday 8/21 at 5pm, Tuesday 8/25 at 10pm and Saturday 8/29 at 3:45pm. Tickets are $15. For tickets and more information visit and for more info about FringeNYC visit

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