Phillips is a sweet mixture of fearless and clueless as his character searches for his dad. Juan Gabriel Turbay's vibrant original score (he also performs) sets and reflects many moods, and the multimedia work - a troupe trademark - is terrific. Filmed subway trains come and go on one level as Phillips and the cast perform in the station on another. A live Phillips glides recorded boats down rivers, including the Amazon. In Bridge, which examines many losses – personal, cultural and environmental - the live action against recorded scenery resonates.
- Howie Shapiro
$25. 7 and 11 p.m. tonight and 7 p.m. tomorrow, at Plays & Players, 1714 Delancey Place.
Another Sleepy Dusty Delta Day The visual art and theatrical spectacles of renowned Belgian Jan Fabre share in the use of multiples. One canary onstage will not do - instead the set of Another Sleepy Dusty Delta Day features a dozen cages with live birds and not one but a bunch of miniature mountains of coal, each with its own working model train. Lanky Ivana Jozic as the solitary player wears a vivid yellow dress, and with her single rocking chair and microphone, spins out a poetic meditation on "Ode to Billie Joe." She reads a suicide note written in stages approaching the act itself, interspersing it with convulsive, disjointed dances and renderings of the famous song with all its verses accumulating by the end.
Jozic's moving is stunning for its transitionless splices, measured in milliseconds. Turbo-charged and fragile simultaneously, she evokes a thrashing directionlessness and arduous workaday repetition, cycling through distinct states in a seeming palindrome.
Languorous heat, rowdy beer drinking, stirred passions, and the potential for choice in one's own demise are Delta Day's chief themes. At the premiere, flat singing was a sour note and the Croatian-accented English was difficult to comprehend at high speeds. - Lisa Kraus
$25. 8 tonight and tomorrow, Suzanne Roberts Theater, 480 S. Broad Street.
A Priest Walks Into a Bar Vagabond Acting Troupe's A Priest Walks Into a Bar bills itself as "an Ecclesiastical Vaudeville," and has something to do with religion, a challenge involving 10 rehearsals, a joke, and the titular bar. Maybe if they'd doubled the rehearsals they could have hoped for a miracle, but I doubt it would have helped.
This is a show so unfunny it includes a skit during which Hitler visits Jesus' television talk show (Hitler being represented by an actress holding her finger under her nose to represent a moustache) to report that he's taking "hot yoga classes" in hell.
It's so unfunny the funniest scene is unintentional, and occurs when the same actress describes her sister's eviction by e-mail from their church in "eight little words" she'd never forget: "Good luck in your faith." And it's so under-rehearsed that even the puppets in an ill-conceived puppet sketch don't know their lines.
Poor Jeremy Hagen and Lesley Berkowitz soldier on throughout the din, actual actors stuck in a godforsaken mess of a show. Perhaps next time Vagabond is up for a "process challenge," they won't have the audacity to expect people to offer a tithing in return.
- Wendy Rosenfield
$10. 7:30 and 9 tonight. At L2 Restaurant and Bar, 2201 South St.