Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan
BOTTOM LINE: A boxing scam in the 1930s as told through fast-paced dance, choreography, puppets and quick character switches.
After a long-running and critically acclaimed international tour Sossy Mechanics is making their New York City debut with their quick-witted and fast-jabbing production of Trick Boxing, playing at the Connelly Theatre as part of the NY Fringe Festival. Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan, who are credited as creators, directors and performers, are quite multi-talented and pull out all the stops to tell their depression era story involving boxing, scams and wristwatches. And of course dancing.
A local young apple seller unwittingly demonstrates his ability to avoid a punch after getting into a fight and is quickly wrangled into the world of seedy professional boxing by an over ambitious promoter. Soon enough everyone is out to get him, and his only saving grace is a pretty young lass and the wisening lessons of swing dancing.
The story itself doesn't offer many surprises; its true magic shines in the manner of its telling. Brian Sostek doesn't skip a beat with his lightning quick and precise physical transformations. The dancing is solid and offers a nice change of tempo, but my personal favorite was Trick Boxing's choice of puppets in its depictions of some of the plot's main bouts.
We've seen a lot of developments in puppetry lately, both on stage and on TV, and it takes a certain amount of audacity to take the puppeteering approach used by Sossy Mechanics. I'll leave the reader to discover the details. In the end it's good to remember that, as Trick Boxing shows, sometimes the simplest approach packs the most punch.
(Trick Boxing plays at Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th St., through August 26th. Remaining performances are Wednesday 8/18 at 8:45pm, Thursday 8/19 at 2:30pm, Sunday 8/22 at 4:15pm and Thursday 8/26 at 7:30pm. For more information visit www.sossymechanics.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.)