So we need to preface this by saying that after weeks of scouring the Fringe Guide, talking to show experts, actors, producers, etc., trying to narrow down this list to a handful of shows was nearly impossible.
So we changed it up. Instead of selecting our top picks in general, we examined upcoming Fringe events by neighborhoods and selected the shows we can’t wait to see. Some sound thought provoking, some sound hilarious, others sound a little creepy and weird and we’ll probably bring mace to check them out, but what was unmistakable was that they all sound perfectly, Fringe.
More on all of these shows and links to buy tickets: fringearts.com.
Riot in Rittenhouse: A Philly Sketch Comedy Show
Normally, you’d have us at sketch comedy, but one that plans a timely dig on an ever-changing Philadelphia filled with luxury condos, yoga studios and more coffeehouses than there are people to drink coffee? We’re there. | Sept. 11-13, 8 p.m.; Sept. 14, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Philly Improv Theater at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.
You Are Not a Shining Star
This event literally describes itself as “weird, but not boring.” What it is an intrinsic look at how we view ourselves and the type of legacy we’d like to leave – for better or for worse. The event is an entirely movement-based performance so for those that love a good interpretative dance, sounds like we’re all in for a treat – and a lesson. | Sept. 7, 8, 21, 22. 7 p.m. $15. Urban Movement Arts, 2100 Chestnut St., 2nd Fl.
Translation: Cracking the Girl Code
It’s a musical. It’s about trans-lifestyles while trying to navigate the tough ethos that is the music industry. Considering we live in a society where being trans is tough in its own right, the bravery portrayed in this production is destined to inspire. | Sept. 19, 8 p.m. Tabu Lounge and Sports bar, 254 S. 12th St.; Sept. 22, 2:30 p.m. William Way Center, 1315 Spruce St. $20.
Mythical Chinese Dragon
This one explores the great mysticism and intrigue that is the Chinese Dragon. Created by Hua Hua Zhang, this event will look at her interpretation of this multifaceted creature in Chinese culture. It’s also an experiential event running through Oct. 4 so there’ll be plenty of chances to still check it out long after Fringe wraps. | Sept. 4-Oct. 4, 10 a.m-6 p.m. Free. Asian Arts Initiative, 2nd Floor Lobby, 1219 Vine St.
The latest offering from Fringe legend Gunnar Montana is a ride into sheer terror where our scariest dreams are realized via one man’s nightmare. Montana has never let us down, ever, so we’re looking forward to riding with him on his Enter Sandman quest. | Sept. 5-8, 10-13, 8 p.m.; Sept. 14, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Sept. 15, 17-20, 8 p.m.; Sept. 21, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Sept. 22, 8 p.m. $45. The Latvian Society, 531 N. 7th St.
Immigrant Concierge Services
A man who looks like he would be against immigration is rescued by migrants and in turn creates a business partnership that actually benefits both parties? Sounds like we should extend an invitation to this one to our nation’s current Commander in Chief. | Sept. 5, 11, 8 p.m.; Sept. 15, 2 p.m. $12. Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, 531 N. 12th St.
This takes a deep and profound look at substance abuse through the lives of seven strangers. It’s a success story as each story depicts the long, hard battle that is a way back to sobriety. | Sept. 5-6, 6 p.m.; Sept. 7, 2 p.m.; Sept. 8, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Sept. 10, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-13, 6 p.m.; Sept. 15, 2 p.m., 6 p.m. $20. Warehouse on Watts, 923 N. Watts St.
My Last Revolution
Self discovery through martial arts for a tree-hugging liberal who finds deliverance is just one of many stories in this multifaceted performance. Bring an open mind and a Kind Bar and come check it out. | Sept. 13, 20-21, 8 p.m. $12. Yorick and Sons, 1864 Frankford Ave.
I Spy, With My Little Eye
Another story told through dance has us excited as it plans to take us all down memory lane to our childhood when board games were it. A much simpler time in a complex world is exactly what we need. And for you parents out there, this one is cool to bring the kids. | Sept. 12-13, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 14, 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; Sept. 15, 3:30 p.m. $20. Mascher Space Cooperative, 155 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Male Tears: A Clown Castration
Perhaps this is one where we have a simple mind. No one in our newsroom is a big fan of clowns but these clowns plan to poke fun at the idea of what’s masculine, what’s not and why it’s all still such a big deal to begin with. | Sept. 8-9, 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Destiny is a Careless Waiter
Theater in a cafe. As a waiter cock blocks a couple and learns valuable life lessons while doing so. We were confused but overly-intrigued during the explanation of this one. Fortunately, for all of us here, intrigue easily won out, so we can't wait for this one. | Sept. 8, 11, 15, 22, 6 p.m. $18. Trolley Car Cafe, 3269 S. Ferry Rd.
Circadium Presents: 4:18 AM/Chaos Theory
An examination of chaos theory an order as told through acts of juggling, suspension, and theater all wrapped into one 90 minute show. Contemporary circus is right up our alley, especially when there’s a story to tell. | Sept. 20-22, 8 p.m. $20. Circadium School of Contemporary Circus, 6452 Greene St.
Un Poyo Rojo
If you picked up this issue in its physical or e-edition form, then you saw the premise of what this one is about. Dance, athleticism, martial arts and clowning, mime and cockfighting are just a sampling of the American premiere of this on-stage dramedy. | Sept. 19-21, 8 p.m. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Rd.
A freaky way to look at healthcare is something we’re all about considering the state of health care (at least in this country) is pretty freaky in its own right. This one will be an overprescription that provides plenty to think about at the end of just 45 minutes. | Sept. 8, 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Free. Old City Art House, 144 Vine St.
Fringe Festival Bookstore
OK, so it’s not a show, more than it is a chance to check out some thought provoking works of literature, art and more. If anything, go in get inspired and leave with a conversation starter. Sept. 5-22. Free. Thursdays-Fridays, 4-8 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m-8 p.m.; Sundays, noon-8 p.m.
Late Night Snacks
The Bearded Ladies Cabaret returns with probably one of the best nightcaps a theater goer or just someone not looking to call it a night just yet could ever have. Go have one more while you party it up as only a Fringe event could provide. | Sept. 7-29. Times, prices vary. 1316 S. Percy St.
Dance doesn’t care where it comes from. But courtesy of this choreographed piece solicited by anyone it’ll be on display through the streets of South Philly for your viewing pleasure. We’re talking scores of people just dancing, however they feel in unison. It sounds amazing just by the sound of it. | Sept. 7, 4 p.m.; Sept. 13, 7 p.m., Sept. 14, 4 p.m. Free. 5th St. between Shunk St. and Oregon Ave.
Everything Okay in There?
A story about being young, full of promise but not knowing where to start. A look at childhood, adolescence and adulthood through the eyes of one girl deciding the right path to take in all three scenarios. | Sept. 11-13, 6 p.m. $12. The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, 901 S. Broad St.
Life and Times: Episode 7
It’s complexity through collaboration. One of the Fringe Festival’s three companion works, this film in conjunction with the Nature Theater of Oklahoma will showcase a cast of just eight people playing over 100 different characters. We love a good challenge, this one might just be it. | Sept. 17, 7 p.m. $10 general admission $8 for students and seniors. Free for Lightbox Film Center and FringeArts members. Lightbox Film Center, International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut St.
We’re back on the interdisciplinary train with this examination of people suffering from disease and the dedicated people who take care of them. It’s probably one you’ll want to bring a loved one to as healthy or ailing, will definitely provide perspective to you both. | Sept. 3, 7 p.m.; Sept. 4-5, 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 9, 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 11-12, 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
H5: A One-Man’s Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V
If anyone knows history then you know just how complex Henry V of England was. So it’s only fitting that his military mastermind and preminient dictator be portrayed in a one-man show for the masses. | Sept. 5, 7 p.m.; Sept. 6, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Sept. 7, 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Sept. 8, 9 p.m. $10. URBN Center Black Box Theater, 3401 Filbert St.