Scott Organ's one-act, Phoenix, which Flashpoint Theatre Company is presenting at the Adrienne, is a painful sort of romantic comedy of contemporary manners. It's not surprising to learn that a movie based on the play is in preproduction. With a little help from Friends, it could become a TV series - which is not to disparage it, but merely to identify the realm in which the play exists.
Theatre Exile's Saturn Returns, by Noah Haidle, is a short play about a very long emotion - grief. It's about a man who cannot forget his dead wife and dead daughter, and we watch him endlessly remembering, decade after decade, ruefully, lovingly, angrily, and so, so sadly. Saturn Returns is about memory and time and endless waiting for the remembering to end.
Inis Nua Theatre Company's American premiere of Dublin by Lamplight by Michael West, is an odd, charming show, showcasing an impressive cast under Tom Reing's highly stylized commedia dell'arte direction. All the actors play multiple roles and the handsome church space - set with only one chair - is used imaginatively. But why it's performed in exaggerated whiteface makeup is a mystery, unless it's just to make this old-timey melodrama seem unusual.
Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is freelance theater critic for the Inquirer where she reviews New York and London as well as Philadelphia. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of five books about modern and contemporary drama, and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). She was recently named by American Theatre magazine "one of the twelve most influential critics in America."