The Power of Magic: An International Commedia for Everyone

The show begins with a lively ragtag musical opening. For its inspiration the Ombelico Mask Ensemble goes back to Commedia dell’ Arte, a theater form that predates Shakespeare and was performed in the streets and market places of the old world for hundreds of years. It is an audience-friendly theatrical event with its big, non-naturalistic acting style and its traditional characters, most of whom are masked. The familiar roles include Capitan, Signora, Arlecchino, Columbina, Flavio, Isabella, Dottore,  Pantalone, Brighella, and Zagna.

The Commedia mode of ensemble performance involves a set storyline (in this case written by the ensemble) and key physical bits that are worked out in rehearsal for exact timing. But a big part of the appeal of this theater form is the host of clever asides improvised in situ. Little comments are even made in other languages in this performance, and it works just fine. The show is literally slapstick, that is, they employ the old slapstick. Two paddles are joined together to make a noise when one actor strikes another.

The company’s mission is to strive for laughter and joy for the audience and the actor alike, a most noble goal at which they succeeded today. This show is really funny. The company can handle the impromptu element well, and you wonder why the choreographed pranks get even funnier with each repetition, but they do.

On this chilly late afternoon the troupers performed their high spirited, delightful little frolic on an outdoor platform in the pouring rain — for an audience that sat in that pouring rain to watch and laugh. OMB was founded in 2007 by Brendon Gawel, Producing Artistic Director. Well directed by John V. Bellomo, Co-Artistic Director. With an appealing cast. Fine costumes are by Amy Chmielewski. Philly Fringe. At the Betsy Ross House courtyard. 60 minutes. 09/10/09



Philadelphia Theater Reviews 2001-2008

Philadelphia Theater Reviews 2001-2008

    Unusual Acts of Devotion by Terrence McNally at Suzanne Roberts Theatre (11/07/08)


   Candide, novel by Voltaire  adapted by Hugh Wheeler at the Arden Theatre (09/19/08)


    The Happiness Lecture by Bill Irwin at PTC’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre (05/25/08)


     Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl at the Wilma Theater (05/07/08)


 Dear World   Bristol Riverside Theatre (05/04/08)


 Bug by Tracy Letts, Theatre Exile at Christ Church Neighborhood   House (04/30/08)


Roosters by Milcha  Sanchez-Scott, Theatre Exile at Christ Church Neighborhood House (02/06/08)


Black Gold by Seth Rozin, InterAct Theatre Company at the  Adrienne Theater (01/31/08)


M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang, Philadelphia Theatre Company at Suzanne Roberts Theatre (01/24/ 08)


Age of Arousal by Linda Griffiths, the Wilma Theater,  (12/12/07)


The School for Wives by Moliere, Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen’s Theater, (11/15/07)


Mr. Marmalade by Noah Haidle, Theatre Exile at Christ Church Neighborhood House, (11/07/07)


Being Alive conceived by Billy Porter, music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, (10/31/07)


  Last of the Boys by Steven Dietz, InterAct Theatre Company at the  Adrienne Theater, (10/24/07)


Flamingo/Winnebago by Thaddeus Phillips and Lucidity SuitcaseIntercontinental at Painted Bride Art Center, Phila Live Arts Festival        (09/02/07)


HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical book & lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado, music by Galt MacDermot. Prince Music Theater, (06/02/07)


The Dishwashers by Morris Panych at Independence Studio on 3,    Walnut Street Theatre, CurtainUp. com (04/19/07)


The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, translated by David Edgar at   the   Wilma Theater, (04/18/07)


Chekhov Lizardbrain by Pig Iron Theatre Company at the Latvian    Society, (03/29/07)


 Enchanted April adapted by Matthew Barber from the novel by Elizabeth Von Armin at the Walnut Street Theatre, (03/22/07)


Caroline or Change book & lyrics by Tony Kushner, music by Jeannine Tesori at the Arden Theatre, (03/14/07)


Enemies, A Love Story adapted by Sarah Schulman from the novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer at the Wilma Theater, (02/16/07)


 La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler translated by Charles McMahon,Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen’s Theater, (02/09/07)


Hearts & Soles by Bruce Graham, Michael Hollinger, and Arden Kass by Theatre Exile at Christ Church Neighborhood House, (02/08/07)


A House With No Walls by Thomas Gibbons by InterAct Theatre Company at the Adrienne Theater, (01/25/07)


Dex & Julie Sittin in a Tree by Bruce Graham at the Arden Theatre, (01/18/07)


Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp by Theatre Exile at Christ Church Neighborhood House, (10/27/06)


Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig by InterAct Theatre Company at the Adrienne Theater, (10/25/06)


A Prayer for Owen Meany, novel by John Irving, adaptation by Simon Bent at the Arden Theatre, (09/20/06)


Amnesia Curiosa by Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford at the Amphitheatre of Pennsylvania Hospital, Live Arts Festival, (09/08/06)


P’s & Q’s by Lee Ann Etzold and MyKIndaPony at the Ethical Society, Live Arts Festival, (09/07/06)


Every Day Above Ground by SaBooge Theatre Company at Wilma Theater, Live Arts Festival, (09/02/06)


Spark Festival 10 For 10. Theatre Alliance-sponsored, at Mum Puppettheater, (07/20/06)


            Some Men by Terrence McNally. Philadelphia Theatre Company at Plays & Players, (05/17/06)


Reinventing Eden by Seth Rozin. InterAct Theater Co at the Adrienne, (04/12/06)


Richard III by William Shakespeare, by Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen’s Theater, (03/29/06)


 Novecento by Alessandro Barrico, by Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen’s Theater, (02/01/06)


            Opus by Michael Hollinger at the Arden Theatre, (01/19/06)


Shakespeare in Hollywood by Ken Ludwig at the Wilma Theater, (12/07/05)


 Adrift in Macao, book by Christopher Durang, music by Peter  Melnick, Philadelphia Theatre Company at Plays & Players, (11/04/05)


The Lady from the Sea by Henrik Ibsen at the Lantern Theater Company, St. Stephen’s Theater, (10/06/05)


I Am My Own Wife (Two actor version) by Doug Wright at the Wilma Theater, (09/29/05)


Pay Up by Pig Iron Theatre Company at The National (119 Arch) Live Arts Festival, (09/08/05)


Planetary Enzyme Blues by New Paradise Laboratories. Written by Whit MacLaughlin. Live Arts Festival, (09/01/05)


Outrage by Itamar Moses at the Wilma Theater, (05/25 /05)


Raw Boys by Dael Orlandersmith at the Wilma Theater, (03/15/05)


Anyone Can Whistle book by Arthur Laurents, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim at the Prince Music Theater, (01/29/05)


Chasing Nicolette book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg, music by David Friedman at the Prince Music Theater, (12/11/04)


The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl at the Wilma Theater, (12/08/04)


The Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman at the Arden Theater, (10/20/04)


Last of the Boys by Steven Deitz. Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center, (10/10/04)


Un-American by Coffin, Gorbey, and Hunt for Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen’s Theater, (09/10/04)


Jesus Hopped the A Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis at the Wilma Theater, (05/26/04)


God of Desire by Dick Goldberg, by InterAct Theatre Co at the Adrienne, (05/12/04)


According to Goldman by Bruce Graham, by Philadelphia Theatre Company at Plays & Players Theater, (03/27/04)


In the Heart of America by Naomi Wallace, by InterAct Theatre Co at the Adrienne, (02/18/04)


Embarrassments, a musical by Laurence Klavan and Polly Pen at the Wilma Theater, (12/05/03)


Resurrection Blues by Arthur Miller at the Wilma Theater, (9/24/03)


Cafe Puttanesca by Michael Ogborn at the Arden Theater, (9/18/03)


La Vie en Bleu, book by Bruce Lumpkin and Bill Van Horn, Walnut Street Theater, (9/17/03)


Rrose Salevy Takes a Lover in Philadelphia by New Paradise Laboratories at Festival Gallery, Fringe Festival, (09/05/03)


Drummer Wanted by Richard Maxwell at the Arden Theater, Fringe Festival, (08/29/03)


A Picasso by Jeffrey Hatcher by Philadelphia Theatre Co at Plays & Players, (06/01/03)


Red by Chay Yew at the Wilma Theater, (05/28/03)


Pacific Overtures, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman at the Arden Theatre, (05/28/03)


Desperate Conversations: Two One-Acts by Tennessee Williams by Random Acts of Theater at the Triangle Theater, (05/18/03)


James Joyce Is Dead And So Is Paris by Pig Iron Theatre Company at Christ Church Annex, (04/12/03)


Big Love by Charles L. Mee at the Wilma Theater, (03/26/03)


The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown by Philadelphia Theatre Company at Plays & Players, (03/19/03)


Cowboy Mouth by Sam Shepard at Shubin Theater, (02/09/03)


Three Plays about Love & Romance, The Problem by A.R. Gurney and The Proposal by Anton Chekhov at the Triangle Theater, (02/08/03)


King Hedley II, by August Wilson by Philadelphia Theatre Company at Plays & Players, (02/06/03)


The Magic Fire, by Lillian Groag at the Wilma Theater, (12/11/02)


Like Crazy Like Wow: 50s Humor with a Holiday Twist, by 1812 Productions at The Adrienne, (12/06/02)


Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, by Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn at Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, (11/22/02)


It’s Better With a Band, lyrics by David Zippel at the Prince Music Theater, (9/25/02)


Daedalus: A Fantasia of Leonardo Da Vinci by David Davalos at the Arden Theatre, (9/21/02)


Dirty Blonde by Claudia Shear at the Wilma Theater,, (09/18/02)


The Dead by James Joyce book by Richard Nelson, Music by Shaun Davey at the Arden Theater, (05/21/02)


Jambulu by Mary Fengar Gail by InterAct Theatre Company at the Adrienne, (01/23/02)


Closer by Patrick Marber at the Arden Theatre’s Arcadia Stage,

CurtainUp. com (01/15/02)


Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton at the Wilma Theatre, (11/30/01)


Baby Case by Michael Ogborn at the Arden Theatre, Haas Stage, (10/16/01)


Lady in the Dark by Moss Hart, Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill at the Prince Music Theater, (10/5/01)


Patience by Jason Sherman at the Wilma Theater, (9/24/01)


The Pavilion by Craig Wright at the Arden Theatre, Arcadia Stage, (9/20/01)


Camila by Lori McKelvey at the Walnut Street Theater, (9/12/01)


Passion by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim at the Wilma Theatre, (5/23/01)


The Baker’s Wife by Joseph Stein and Stephen Schwartz at the Arden Theatre, (05/15/01)


Charlotte: Life? or Theatre? by Elise Thoron at the Prince Music Theater, (03/10/01)


Perfect Pie by Judith Thompson at the Wilma Theatre, (03/07/01)


Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin at the Arden Theatre, (03/06/01)


Exit Wounds by Dennis Raymond Smeal at the Arden Theatre, (02/16/01)


No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs by John Henry Redwood. Philadelphia Theatre Company at Plays & Players, CurtainUp. com (01/31/01)


The Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher  Philadelphia Theatre Company at Plays & Players, for (10/25/00)


Spin by Robert William Sherwood at the Wilma Theatre, for (9/27/00)


Rags by Joseph Stein at the Walnut Street Theater, (9/13/00)


Cherry Docs by David Gow at the Wilma Theatre, (5/10/00)


Philadelphia Theater Reviews and LiveArts/PhillyFringe Reviews 2009-2012

PhiladelphiaTheater Reviews and LiveArts/PhillyFringe Reviews 2009-2012           

A Behanding in Spokane by Martin McDonagh. Theatre Exile, Christ Church Neighborhood House (04/26/12)

Slip/Shot by Jacqueline Goldfinger. Flashpoint Theatre Company, Second Stage at the Adrienne (04/19/12)

Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard. Wilma Theater (03/22/12

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen’s Theater (03/15/12)

Knives in Hens by David Harrower. Theatre Exile at Studio X (2/16/12)

The Scottsboro Boys, Book by David Thompson, Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb. PTC, Suzanne Roberts Theatre (02/09/12)

A Raw Space by Jon Marans. Bristol Riverside Theatre (02/02/12)

Microcrisis by Mike Lew. InterAct Theatre Company at the Adrienne (01/26/12)

Act A Lady by Jordan Harrison. Azuka Theatre at First Baptist Church (11/10/11)

Red by John Logan. PTC at Suzanne Roberts Theatre (10/20/11)

The Aliens by Annie Baker. Theatre Exile at Studio X (09/16/11)

Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical. Adapted by Erica Schmidt, music by Andrew Sherman, conceived by Susan L. Schwartz. eXposed Theatre Company. Mascher Performance Space Philly Fringe (9/10/11)

Heavy Metal Dance Fag by Tribe of Fools. Live Arts Festival (09/08/11)

Savage/Love and Tongues by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin. Philly Fringe (09/04/11)

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. Pig Iron Theatre Company. At Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Philadelphia Live Arts (09/04/11)

Dancing Dead by Brian Sanders’ Junk. Loft Building. Philadelphia Live Arts (09/03/11)

Whale Optics by Thaddeus Phillips and Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental. Prince Music Theatre. Philadelphia Live Arts (09/03/11)

Buried Child  by Sam Shepard. Temple Repertory Theater at Randall Theater. Tumblr blog: theatrendorphin (07/08/11)

Playing Leni, Madhouse Theater Company. Skybox at Adrienne Theatre (06/01/11)

Vigil by Morris Panych. Lantern  Theater Company. St Stephen’s Theater (05/26/11)

Saturn Returns by Noah Haidle. Theatre Exile. Christ Church Neighborhood House (5/4/11)

Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts. Arden Theatre Co. (03/18/11)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Wm. Shakespeare. Lantern Theater (03/16/11)

The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck. Wilma Theatre (01/05/11)

That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play. By Sheila Callaghan. Theatre Exile. Christ Church Neighborhood House (11/21/10)

Silverhill by Thomas Gibbons. InterAct Theatre Company. Adrienne Theater (11/07/10)

Ghost-Writer by Michael Hollinger. Arden Theatre (09/25/10)

Carrie by Brat Productions. Novel by Stephen King, play by Erik Jackson. Underground at the Wolf Bldg (10/08/10)

Cankerblossom by Pig Iron Theatre Company. Christ Church Neighborhood House. Philadelphia Live Arts (09/04/10)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Mauckingbird Theatre Company. In Residence Randall Theater, Temple U (08/28/10) 

Henry V  by William Shakespeare. Classical Acting Academy of the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre (08/08/10)

Survive! by Adrienne Mackey and Swim Pony Productions. Underground at the Wolf Building (06/12/10)

Sunday in the Park with George. Book by James Lapine, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Arden Theatre (06/08/10)

Leaving by Vaclav Havel. Wilma Theater (05/26/10)

Henry IV Part I by William Shakespeare. Lantern Theater (04/07/10)

The Eclectic Society by Eric Conger. Walnut Street Theatre (02/04/10)

Golden Age by Terrence McNally.PTC at Suzanne Roberts Theatre (01/28/10)

Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo. Wilma Theater (01/07/10)

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz. InterAct Theatre Company at Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre (10/28/  09)

Coming Home by Athol Fugard. Wilma Theater (10/21/09)

The History Boys by Alan Bennett. The Arden Theatre Company,  N. 2nd St. (09/30/09)

Fatebook: Avoiding Catastrophe One Party at a Time by New Paradise Laboratories. Live Arts at N 5th St at Poplar (09/10/09)

Never the Sinner: The Leopold and Loeb Story by John Logan.  Mauckingbird Theatre Company at the Adrienne Theater        (08/13/09)

Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes by Yussef El Guindi. InterAct Theatre Company at the Adrienne Theater (04/15/09)

Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Lantern Theater Company at  St. Stephen’s Theater (04/08/09)

At Home at the Zoo by Edward Albee. PTC at Suzanne Roberts Theatre (04/03/09)

 What You Will by William Shakespeare at Bristol Riverside Theatre   (02/14/09)

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams at the Walnut Street Theatre (01/23/09)

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, adapted by Aaron Posner at  the Arden Theatre (01/17/09)

 Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. Mauckingbird Theatre Co. Adrienne   Theatre (01/15/09)





Short Reviews: New York

Short Reviews: New York

3 shows and FringeNYC 2011 archive

The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs by Mike Daisey. At The Public Theater. Theatrendorphin Tumblr Blog (02/25/12)

Love Sick by K. Poe. Produced by AirPort Bar Productions. At Theater for the New City. Theatrendorphin Tumblr Blog (02/24/12)

Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett. At BAM. For tumblr blog (12/13/11)

Elysian Fields by Chris Phillips. At Kraine Theater. FringeNYC (08/19/11)

Hamlet by Wm Shakespeare. Bama Theatre Co. At Connelly Theatre. FringeNYC (08/22/11)

Killing John Grisham by Jack Moore. At Teatro SEA (08/20/11)

The Legend of Julie Taymor or The Musical That Killed Everybody. Book, Travis Ferguson, Music Dave Ogrin, lyrics by both. At Bleeker Theatre. FringeNYC (08/21/11)

Walls & Bridges by Scott Murphy. Teatro SEA FringeNYC (8/19/11)

Courtney & Kathleen: A Riot Act. At LaMama (08/19/11)

Lenny’s Dead Kraine Theatre, Fringenyc (08/18/10)

Rites of Privacy HERE Center, Fringenyc (08/18/10)

Richard 3 at La Mama Theatre, (08/19/10)

Friends of Dorothy: An Oz Cabaret at La Mama Theatre, Fringenyc (08/19/10)

Platinum Lucille Lortel Theatre, Fringenyc (08/20/10)

Eternity in an Hour New School Theatre, Fringenyc (08/20/08)

Invader? I Hardly Know Her Soho Playhouse, Fringenyc (08/20/10)

Jurassic Parq: A Broadway Musical La Mama Theatre, Fringenyc (08/21/10)

Lemonade: A Play of World Domination by Tom Noonan Paradise Factory, Fringenyc (08/21/10)

Reviews L.A., Hollywood

Reviews posted on      

Los Angeles/Hollywood

Earnest Rock & Roll Jesus with a Cowboy Mouth wants more in the rock dept Hungry River Theatre Company. Hollywood Fringe. Blog. (06/19/11)

TVK: Outrageous and appealingly smarty-pants. Lind and Honett. Hollywood Fringe [Film]. Blog. (06/19/11)

Pure Shock Value rocks Hollywood Fringe [Film] Furious Theatre Company. Blog. (06/18/11)

5 Things about RADAR Festival’s Titus Redux by The New American Theatre & Not Man Apart. Blog (06/17/11)

5 Things About Ground to Cloud & 5 Things About Myth and Infrastructure. Theatre Communications Group breakout session. RADAR L.A. festival. Blog. (06/17/11)

‘2 Dimensional Life of Her,’ Revisited. By Fleur Elise Noble. RADAR L.A. festival. Review/Article. (06/16/11)

Archive: Capsule Reviews Philadelphia 2009-2012

LIST of Capsule Reviews

New & Noteworthy  and  Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe:

[Published by unless otherwise noted.]

Hamlet-Machine and MedeaPlays by Heiner Muller. Underground Arts at the Wolf Bldg. For Tumblr Blog. (04/29/12)

The Temperamentals by Jon Marans. Mauckingbird Theatre Company at the Adrienne Skybox. (04/12/12)

Private Lives by Noel Coward. Lantern Theater Company. St. Stephen’s Theater. (12/22/11)

Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon. 11th Hour Theatre Company. Skybox at the Adrienne (12/04/11)

Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph . Theatre Exile at Philadelphia Shakespeare Company. Review on theatrendorphin tumblr blog (12/01/11)

[title of show] by Mauckingbird Theatre Company. Upstairs at the Adrienne [01/15/11)

The Sun Also Rises (The Select) based on Hemingway novel by Elevator Repair Service. Arts Bank. Live Arts (09/17/10)

Karl Marx in Soho by Iron Age Theatre Co. Twelve Gates Gallery, N. Cherry St. Philly Fringe. (09/12/10)

Sanctuary by Brian Sanders’ JUNK. Theater East at the Hub 5th and Fairmount. Philadelphia Live Arts. (09/11/10)

!El Conquistador! By Lucidity Suitcase International and Thaddeus Phillips. Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Philadelphia Live Arts (09/10/10)

L’Heure Exquise: A Pastiche on Songs by Gabriel Faure. Cory O’Niell Walker. First Unitarian Church, Chestnut St. Philly Fringe (09/04/10)

Fantasy Football: The Musical? A Bro-mantic Comedy. In a developmental reading by 11th Hour Theatre Company. UArts (07/25/10)

Mort by New Paradise Laboratories and UArts. UArts (02/20/10)

Any Given Monday by Bruce Graham. Theatre Exile at Plays & Players Theatre. (02/11/10)

Chekhov Lizardbrain (revisited) Pig Iron Theatre Company. Arts Bank. (12/10/09)

The Brothers Flanagan. At Fergies Pub. Philly Fringe. (09/13/09)

The Power of Magic: Commedia for Everyone. By Ombelico Mask Ensemble. At Betsy Ross House courtyard. (09/10/09)

Shakesploitation II: Iambic Boogaloo. Iron Age Theatre. Front Street. Philly Fringe. (09/09/09)

Welcome to Yuba City. Pig Iron Theatre Company. The Festival Hub. Live Arts. (09/06/09)

Urban Scuba. Brian Sanders/JUNK. Gershwin Y. Live Arts. (09/04/09

Spark Showcase 2009 Five new short plays. Plays & Players (06/19/09)

Slightly Irregular: An Evening of Short Plays and Comic Interludes. Apprentice Program presentation. Arden Theatre (06/16/09)