BOTTOM LINE: An amusing and light-hearted contemporary fable about a fictional revolutionary war battle.
Lovers of satire, irony, and all-but-obsolete 18th-century writing styles rejoice, The Battle of Spanktown will be right up your alley! A contemporary historical fable dramatizing a fictional Revolutionary War battle of the same name, The Battle of Spanktown starts with a simple argument between a badger and a mole. After many twists, jaunts, diversions and additions, it climaxes in the actual battle of Spanktown. My one qualm is that there are so many scattered elements of the story, and the production, that it's nearly impossible to really connect with any of the characters or the story line. One notable exception to this is the character Hobbledehoy (neither man nor boy) played by Chris Bannow. Bannow manages to balance the highly stylized acting, in which one feels the actors are constantly taking a wink at the audience, with emotional sincerity and what feels like organically found humor.
In fairness, I suspect that the audience isn't supposed to really connect to the material. The Battle of Spanktown is intended more as a fun satirical romp through a moment of non-existent American history, and it does this just fine. Playwright Jeffry Pfeiffer tackles immense amounts of material, and his script has many, many shining moments of subtle wit, but the production overall is never quite quick enough to hit the mark as a laugh out loud whirlwind of theater.
Those who can't get enough of those famous eclectic Fringe moments will love The Battle of Spanktown for the battle scene alone. I can honestly say I've never watched a robot, a badger and a British Governor waging war on the same stage.
(The Battle of Spanktown plays at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, through August 27th. Remaining performances are Sunday 8/22 at 12pm, Wednesday 8/25 at 10pm, and Friday 8/27 at 10:45pm. For more information visit thebattleofspanktown.tumblr.com. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and are available at FringeNYC.com, by calling 866.468.7619, or in person at FringeCENTRAL, located at 1 East 8th Street at 5th Avenue. There is NO LATE SEATING for Fringe NYC shows.)