The Village Voice

Pardon Our Fringe

By Phyllis Fong

August 22, 2006

As the 10th annual New York International Fringe Festival heads into the homestretch, reports continue to pour in from the Voice's Fringe operatives on the ground.

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A Small Hole

Playwright Julia Jarcho's "mutation" of Mansfield Park, with its Sadean overlay (the Marquis's Justine replaces the German Romantic play Lovers' Vows as the internal theatrics), does its best work in showing how utterly commonplace such corseted trappings can feel: Jane Austen's problem child, as presented (a major portion of the script is taken from her text), has enough reserves of sex and politics on its own?e.g., men who believe a glass of Madeira is the fix for any female ill. The poor and virtuous Fanny spends much of the play in a box, and Elena Mulroney's portrayal goes from faintly annoying to Ibsen-level powerful in seconds. With the startlingly choreographed ball scene and its evocation of Austens past, the performance affirms the potential for inventive transformation.