Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review - Trick Boxing (Sossy Mechanics and New York International Fringe Festival)

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Ed Bock

Boxing is like dancing. Dancing is like falling in love. Falling in love is like boxing.

Or at least that's how things are in Sossy Mechanics' fun and charming Trick Boxing, currently at the Connelly Theater as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. If you like fancy footwork, in or out of the ring, this show is for you.

Set in the 1930s, Trick Boxing tells the story of a young apple seller, Daniel Danielovich, who falls under the sway of a charming, but greasy fight promoter, Bill Buck. Rechristened Dancin' Danny David, and with next to no experience under his belt, Daniel begins an improbable race to the championship. Along the way, he meets Bella, a young lady with a secret and a pair of gams built for dancing. But is Daniel's meteoric rise to the top based on skill and luck alone, or do Buck and his shady associate Tony have something more sinister in mind?

Created by Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan, Trick Boxing has been a festival favorite for nearly a decade, and it's easy to see why. Both are charming and adept performers. Sostek, who plays easily half a dozen characters during the show, is like quicksilver, flowing and changing seamlessly from one to the next. Even now, when remembering certain scenes, I can picture three actors on stage, when in fact, there was only him.

Not surprisingly, given the time they've had to work together on this project, Trick Boxing is a highly polished production. Since they've worked the festival circuit, Sostek and McClellan know to keep things simple. Costumes are evocative of the era, but Sostek doesn't change his from character to character - everything is done vocally and physically. Set and props are kept at a minimum, which leads to a taut, well-paced show with few interruptions. Most importatly, it creates a large, open playing space for the actors to utilize in their wonderful and exuberant dance numbers.

Choreographed dances, a fast paced story, boxing puppets (trust me, it works), rapid-fire dialogue, wonderful characters, a top-notch love story, and two terrific actors make Trick Boxing an absolute treat.

Trick Boxing
Written, Directed, Choreographed and Performed by Megan McClellan and Brian Sostek
Stage Managed by Michelle Cote

VENUE #2: Connelly Theater

Sun 15 @ 5:45
Wed 18 @ 8:45
Thu 19 @ 2:30
Sun 22 @ 4:15
Thu 26 @ 7:30

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