Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Fishtown—A Hipster Noir
Philadelphia Fringe Festival
Review by Rebecca Rendell | Season Schedule

Also see Rebecca's reviews of These Terrible Things, Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Cameron's reviews of Elizabeth Cree and Red Velvet

Tara Demmy (left), Joseph Ahmed, Jenna Kuerzi,
Zachary Chiero, and Kyle Yackoski

Photo by Plate 3 Photography
Tribe of Fools' Fishtown—A Hipster Noir is a zany comedy in the style of a classic crime drama that is also a modern science fiction allegory and creative high-energy dance performance. More importantly, it is a rollicking good time. Caitlin Weigel's witty script is laugh out loud funny and amusingly insightful. The talented ensemble shines under Peter Smith's creative direction. Smith's dynamic set design is inventive, and Lexa Grace's costumes are impeccable. Completely unexpected yet undeniably of the moment, Fishtown—A Hipster Noir is the play you did not know you have been waiting to see.

Like all good noir, Fishtown begins with a private investigator whose case is about to take a strange turn. The investigator is technophobe Sarah Lowell (Tara Demmy), and the strange turn leads her and her social media savvy assistant Bradley (Zachary Chiero) to a technology company called OtherSide. Lowell wants to know how OtherSide's CEO James Aimsley (Joseph Ahmed) came into possession of some information, but in a world where virtual reality fantasies seem real and shadows can talk, the truth is hard to find.

Ahmed is so convincing as a millennial douche-bag tech CEO that you may find yourself wanting to stick your foot out when his Razor scooter zooms past. Aimsley's brainy but stressed out secretary Claire is rendered with deceptive charm by Jenna Kuerzi. Demmy is impeccable as the luddite P.I. Lowell, stubbornly holding on to her flip phone and microfiche while the world goes digital all around her. There are no weak links in this ensemble, and whether they are skulking under street lamps, shadow dancing behind drawn shades, moving together like acrobats, or discussing the implications of social media data mining, the entire cast is outstanding.

Beyond the wacky dancing, hilarious dialogue, and sleek noir styling, Fishtown is a cautionary tale about the technology that encourages us to create idealized versions of ourselves and warps the way we interact with others. It is a joy to watch and a lot to think about as you turn your cell phone back on and head home.

Fishtown—A Hipster Noir runs through September 23, 2017, at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 S. Hicks St. 80 minutes. For tickets call 215-413-1318 or visit

Joseph Ahmed: James Aimsley
Zachary Chiero: Bradley
Tara Demmy: Sarah Lowell
Jenna Kuerzi: Claire
Kyle Yackoski: Shadow

Written by: Caitlin Weigel
Directed by: Peter Smith
Production Manager and Lighting Design: Robin Stamey
Stage Manage: Jamel Baker
Sound Design: Damien Figueras
Set Design: Peter Smith
Costume Design: Lexa Grace
Props Design: Christine Gaydos
Artistic Director: Terry Brennan