nytheatre.com review by Natily Blair
First of all, I couldn’t help but agree with the man behind me who
said, "This place is absolutely inaccessible—you could defend
this place from attack." If you have never been to this newly
re-furbished venue, the FringeNYC website’s map and directions
to the East River Amphitheater are wrong. The map points to Pitt
and Grand—the Henry Street Settlement. You need to keep walking
down to the river and over the FDR Drive, if you can find the
right pedestrian bridge (2 blocks below Grand). [Editor’s Note:
Refer to the map in the FringeNYC Program Guide, which is
August 15, 2002
All I knew was that the group is called Flam Chen and that there was supposed to be fire involved. So I sat down and I waited…and waited. There are no programs to keep you interested or informed, so I just sat there and waited. After a whopping 55 minutes past scheduled curtain time, what finally unfolded was a mediocre dance concert where the props were on fire. There are loosely defined characters—a fool, a very tall emperor-type guy, an angel, and some weird harem girls and boys, but no more than you would find at a Renaissance Festival.
Some of it’s cool and some of it is boring. There’s a "love scene" duet that’s beautiful and poetic, and some of the fool’s tricks (including juggling flaming balls) are neat. Most of the segments go on too long—long enough so that their flaming objects have gone out, but they keep dancing in the dark.
Then it was over. 35 minutes of performance for 55 minutes of waiting. 6 minutes of interesting stuff spread out over 35. Luckily, it’s free. It’s a fantastic thing to stumble upon if you happen to be on an evening stroll with your sweetie or out of town relatives. Refined and actually rehearsed, it could be the next big thing, but it doesn’t seem like they have the organizational skills to pull it off. Overall, it seemed clumsy and way too self involved. The performers are having much more fun than the audience—like carnie masturbation. Which is kinda neat, but not worth the trek down there, unless you too are a carnie.