Already closed | 1h 30m | Soho/Tribeca

The Radicalization of Rolfe (FringeNYC)

From 68 member  reviews
Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Intelligent

About the show

A FringeNYC Encore: Austria, the 1930s. Messenger boy Rolfe, 17 (going on 18) is about to discover that forbidden sex and the Third Reich don't mix. This dark comedy proves that B-characters have a destiny, too. More…

It's Salzburg, Austria in the last golden days of the 1930s. Rolfe is trying to rise in the ranks of the new order. Unfortunately, he's stuck delivering messages to a certain widowed naval captain with seven children, and flirting with the eldest daughter under the watchful eye of the children's new governess from nearby Nonnberg Abbey. Rolfe quickly discovers that the conflicts between his ambition and his sexuality pose life and death consequences.

Member Reviews (68)


Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Intelligent
Avg Score

Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Original, Resonant

See it if Clever, well written & acted work. Intriguing 'backstory' to Sound of Music both funny & profound

Don't see it if challenging work around themes of sexual difference and xenophopia disturb

Clever, Funny, Refreshing, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoyed The Sound of Music and want a different look at what might have been happening. With wonderful little tributes to the movie.

Don't see it if Good acting mixed with mediocre acting. Occasional cringe worthy dialogue.

Must see, Excellent cast/performances, Clever & insightful, Insider humor, Needs editing

See it if a fan of SOM, LGBT themes, & can appreciate the imagined back stories of minor characters

Don't see it if not familiar with the S.O.M & too much exposition makes you crazy

Also #ShowScore 10/26/16 #RadicalizationOfRolfe #FringeNYC #SohoPlayhouse S... Read more Read less

Sound of music allusions in a dark drama

See it if Professional acting. Schizophrenic script. Audience came to be amused by Sound of Music allusions but they were sprinkled in a dark drama

Don't see it if The 3 older cast members were pros. The 2 boys were almost as good. The laughs gained by SOM allusions grew more and more inappropriate

Also I liked it but this would have been better as a straight (so to speak)... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Edgy, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You want to be entertained. You can enjoy a show that deals with diversity. You don't take life and plays so seriously. Want to laugh.

Don't see it if You take life too seriously. You are offended by two men having relations and seeing a Nazi armband. You don't want to laugh.

Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Original, Relevant

See it if you are curious about Rolf, and would like to see a well-conceived imaginary back story. Also, you get an effective gay perspective on era.

Don't see it if Nazi's tend to creep you out.

Also In 90 minutes, you get a mini-spoof of the SOM, an intriguing back sto... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great writing, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want clever writing which thoughtfully and compellingly explores the lives of non-central characters from famous stories.

Don't see it if You're not prepared for themes of loyalty, strength, and sexuality -- all wrapped in the charm of the margins of a beloved story.

Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if you love "The Sound of Music," like "campy" humor, enjoy plays that mix comedy and tragedy and like seeing new plays.

Don't see it if you'll freak out over gay love scenes; dislike shows that are a spin off of others; aren't familiar with "The Sound of Music."

Clever, Intelligent, Funny, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you'd like a serious, yet clever & funny, well written, smoothly directed & very well acted alternate take on Liesl's Sound of Music beau.

Don't see it if you've no interest in plays that reference other plays; dislike the von Trapps and/or Nazis; or are disturbed by male displays of affection.

Also The Sound of Music, like The Wizard of Oz or It’s a Wonderful Life — i... Read more Read less

Clever, Great writing, Poignant

See it if You are interested in a mature speculation about what was going on behind the scenes in the Sound of Music.

Don't see it if You don't want your Sound of Music illusions shattered, or are uncomfortable with same-sex relationships or references to the Holocaust.

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Must see

See it if you enjoyed "The Sound of Music", like back stories about the von Trapp family, or simply love to laugh (except for the final five minutes)

Don't see it if you don't think you can find any humor in Nazi Germany/Austria.

Entertaining, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if you like the Sound of Music.

Don't see it if you don't like the Sound of Music, or you don't want to watch a play that deals with topics like Nazis and the Holocaust.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Enchanting

See it if you want to see one of the best Fringe plays this summer. A funny yet thoughtful companion to "The Sound of Music" with a darker message.

Don't see it if you can't stand the frequent and funny references to "The Sound of Music".

Clever, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of The Sound of Music and would enjoy a clever back-story on Rolph.

Don't see it if you want something complex and challenging or if you don't know the musical at all.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You'd ever (or never!) wondered about Rolfe. In depth look into a conflicted gay young man discovering himself and his place in the world.

Don't see it if You take issue with humanizing Nazis, playing around with The Sound of Music, or a gay backbone to a story. Some v strong performance-& fun~

Disappointing, Indulgent, Ambitious, Cliched, Heartfelt

See it if sexual politics during WWII interest you - Rolfe's transformation into a Nazi and his eventual capitulation to their regime feels believable

Don't see it if you're a diehard Sound of Music fan who'll be disappointed by cheap jokes based on lyrics and by constant summarizing of the original's plot

Entertaining, Original

See it if a fan of TSoM and can appreciate a visit to the background characters.

Don't see it if you do not know who Rolf is; This is a decent play / production, but much joy is in knowing "the prequel"...

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You are a diehard fan of The Sound of Music (as I am) and would like to see a different take on some of the other characters in the story.

Don't see it if You expect to see Maria singing "My Favorite Things" although there are many references to Maria and The Captain.

Entertaining, Cliched, Humorous

See it if love the Sound of Music or WWII drama.

Don't see it if you're expecting the equivalent of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Rolfe is not that clever.

Clever, Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if You know the story of The Sound of Music-it helps with the underlying story & humor. Like performance of the back stories of lesser chacters

Don't see it if you think it will be a musical or campy production of SOM or offended by a cherished character that may have a 'deviant' dark side.

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if If you are interested in historical fact wrapped in fictional characters - like Sound of Music? References entwine with drama

Don't see it if If you are expecting a comedy or musical. If you don't like transporting characters from one plot to another. WW2 painful

Great writing, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if your memories of the Sound of Music can handle a little backstory, which is scarily relevent to our political climate.

Don't see it if bad people, doing bad things for their own gain upsets you. Or you don't want anything but the good associated with the movie.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great writing, Quirky

See it if You like funny plays that still manage to address serious issues. LGBT plays interest you.

Don't see it if You've never seen or don't like "The Sound of Music"

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You need your social justice leavened with a great deal of inside Sound of Music humor.

Don't see it if Long sit down scenes of confrontation bore you.

Entertaining, Clever, Delightful, Thought-provoking

See it if The Sound of Music is a fav; open to a clever, humorous, yet moving piece, with fun lyric references. A few wonderful acting performances.

Don't see it if Gay relationships/action is a turn off. You're a TSOM purist. Are done with Nazi topics, even as referred to in a musical story.

October 28th, 2016
"Bergh has tried fervently to escape the shackles of the source, but they don't release easily...Bergh has plenty of points to make, but they have trouble landing amid all the comedic landmines...It may feel like a lot of filler. This is not because of the actors, who are competent and profession...
read more
October 27th, 2016
"A uniquely witty original take-off on 'The Sound of Music'...The script is clever and amusing, as it challenges the audience to recognize the well-known show tunes from which they’re taken. But the funny pop-culture references are underscored with intimate views of the devastating effects inhere...
read more
August 16th, 2016
for a previous production "A play that was just as much fun as — and cleverer than — it promised to be...In Abigail Zealey Bess’s tone-perfect production, Rolfe (Logan Sutherland) is gay and closeted, unable to stay away from the sweet, teasing Johan (Alex J. Gould). The two are so lovely together that you’ll root for the...
read more
August 17th, 2016
for a previous production “Broad puns, corny references to Rodgers & Hammerstein and an obscure yet relevant allusion to Marvel's Red Skull are all in the mix. But Bergh doesn’t just crank out meta jokes...The dramatic stakes help move 'The Radicalization of Rolfe' beyond mere spoof, and offer characters of some depth (fe...
read more

Related content