Title Fight with Tigers Jaw, Pianos
Become the Teeth and Single Mothers
Fri., Nov. 30, Union Transfer
Overall vibe: Hometown heroes. Title Fight is one of few bands that could sell out a Philly venue and it feels like a family reunion.
Most memorable moment: A fan shouted a song request to Adam Mcilwee, lead vocalist of Tigers Jaw, to which he responded, “Don’t tell me what to do tonight!” unintentionally summing up the spirit of the show.
Scene stealer: Sing-alongs to Title Fight’s OG songs “Symmetry” and “Loud and Clear.” (Caroline Newton)
New City’s Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s
Wild Christmas Binge
Through Dec. 23, The Adrienne Theatre. newcitystage.org
Overall vibe: Santa and his elves manning the box office and the red-velvet seats in the main stage of the Adrienne inject the audience with anticipation of splendor. However, it was unsettling to see children as young as 5 sitting next to me. This play may have the word “Christmas” in the title, but Christopher Durang is lampooning Dickens in the presentational style of the Marx Bros.
Most memorable moment: Mrs. Cratchit’s fancy get-up is a microcosm of all that is wrong with this production. She’s a woman oppressed by poverty, barely avoiding debtor’s prison and raising 20 kids in 19th-century Dickensian London town, but in this production, she’s more oppressed by an elegant plaid lavender gown that looks like it was pulled from the wardrobe department of Macy’s Dickens Village. Her children are crying with hunger, and she doesn’t think to pawn it? Durang’s manically brilliant text is absurd enough.
Scene stealer: Sam Henderson worked as a stagehand from 2005 to 2011, but he’s back on the boards where he belongs as the starving Bob Cratchit, wolfing down Durang’s Christmas Big Mac as if it was a Christmas goose. (Jessica Foley)
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
By Pamela D. Toler, Ph.D (Running Press)
In summary: A 448-page companion to the 12-hour History Channel series chronicling human history, published by Philly-based Running Press. With more than 300 illustrations and photographs, Mankind covers the myriad peoples, inventions and migrations of humanity, from Africa to the Ice Age and the dawn of Europe, right up to the 21st century.
Akin to: Two semesters worth of world history college credit.
Author fun fact: Professor Toler’s graduate school adviser told her that there were no jobs in her field of study. (Eugene Holley Jr.)