Fringe Festival review: PigPen Presents---The Mountain Song
Fri Aug 19 2011
Photograph: Bart Cortright
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
The magical mood is set the minute you enter the theater: The six members of the all-male theater troupe PigPen (all recent Carnegie Mellon grads) stand barefoot on the stage, crooning, stomping, joking around and having a grand old time. That sense of fun is infectious in this allegorical folk tale, which manages to be touching, smart and funny without ever getting cynical or dark.
Told through Appalachian-inflected songs, shadow and stick puppetry, physical theater and old-fashioned storytelling, The Mountain Song follows a carpenter (Dan Weschler) who sets out on a long journey to attend his mute daughter's wedding. Unfortunately, he's not sure where it's taking place, so he ends up going on lots of adventure-filled detours, encountering a helpful giant, a gun-toting coyote, a friendly bird, an insane cowboy and a talking mountain (Ben Ferguson), who narrates the tale with hillbilly charm.
If this sounds like a load of bunkum, don't be fooled: Despite their youth, these guys are masterful musicians and theater performers, who were recognized last year with the FringeNYC Award for Overall Excellence in Production. The Mountain Song will move anyone who's ever experienced regret, loss or love. In other words, everyone.
NOTE: The Mountain Song has been extended through Sept 25 as part of the FringeNYC Encore Series.