BWW Review: 2017 NJ FRINGE FESTIVAL
Jersey Fringe is a 3-day event featuring multiple theatrical productions at a variety of venues within walking distance of the central location and ticket hub, The Eagle Theatre. Multiple Producing Organizations offered eclectic, unique selections for festivalgoer's throughout the entire weekend. Also featured were a Beer and Wine Garden, Pop-Up Art, Food and Art Vendors, Live Music and More. This event offered both locals and newcomers to Hammonton an opportunity to meet the friendly hosts of the Festival and enjoy strolling the streets, meeting the vendors, enjoying the fun.
Some Fringes are juried or adjudicated: shows are selected, invited or reviewed in advance by festival staff or a diverse panel of performing artists, participants, arts professionals and audience members. Many of this year's Jersey Fringe shows came with a friendly warning; "intended for mature audiences". I was impressed with the passion, talent and creativity of all the performers. However 7 of the 13 were not appropriate for anyone under 14 and a few; " Flash, Float, Fall" and "The Confessions of Jeffrey Dahmer" were definitely adult themed. As with most Fringe Festivals the shows are offered by fairly new creative teams with limited experience and Fringe patrons flock to see 'what's new' on the horizon for the next generation of theater.
Productions this year included; Tribe of Fools' School Play; which is a notable theatre troupe and featured the talent Ted Terry Brennan. J. Hernandez and Amanda Schoonover's The Best of Me, a true tale of Ricardo Lopez, stalker of Iceland's Björk; Abandoned By Choice, by hometown Hammonton playwright/musician Samantha Hitman and her band, Tiny Rocks. Flash, Float Fall by Emily Conklin, Plot Twist: An Interactive Theatrical Experience and The Hourglass by Amber Kusching. The Confession of Jeffrey Dahmer; a piece written and starring Josh Hitchens. I especially enjoyed "School Play", "Plot Twist" and the poignant "The Hour Glass." I also appreciated a delightful Cabaret featuring Eagle Theater's Kimberly Suskind and Cindy Chait with guest performer Eagle's Co-Artistic Director Ted Wioncek III.
I personally felt that many of the show selections were a bit too dark for my taste. More than once we needed to chill out at the Beer Garden and Funky Cow Ice Cream and to chat with the happy chalk drawing children and street vendors. Hoping next year the Fringe trend will sway a bit from the reality of the shocking things of our world and lean towards more positive creations and more family friendly entertainment. Then again, Fringe walks the line of unique and peculiar entertainment and this was no exception.
The 2ND NEW JERSEY FRINGE FESTIVAL took place on Aug. 4, 5, 6 in Downtown Hammonton, New Jersey.
Photo # 1 Dionna Vereen (Green) and Tony Yates (Red) From The Hour Glass. Photo Credit- Bill Horin
Photo # 3: Terry Brennan ( School Play) Photo credit -Nick Mazzuca
Photo # 4: J. Hernandez (The Best of Me) Courtesy of NJ Fringe Festival