Closed 1h 30m
The Radicalization of Rolfe (FringeNYC)
Soho/Tribeca
81

The Radicalization of Rolfe (FringeNYC) NYC Reviews and Tickets

81%
(68 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
5%
Negative
4%
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.

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Member Reviews (68)

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87
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

70
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.

Critic Reviews (12)

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 professional (if never exciting), or director Abigail Zealey Bess, who's staged things with the most kitchen-sink fidelity possible in this format. There's just nowhere for them to go with the material."
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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 inherent in the familiar historical themes of socio-political indoctrination, intolerance, and work-camp atrocities that drive the play."
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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 them, and that’s part of the point. Filled with 'Sound of Music' jokes, yet unblinking about the realities of 1930s Austria, this is a lark of a play with sadness at its core."
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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 (feelingly acted by a strong cast)...To be sure, Bergh’s humor caters to a distinct niche—camp-loving History Channel and Broadway buffs—but the Players Theatre was alive with the sound of laughter.”
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August 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"A darkly funny new drama…An intriguing look at what might have been if the original property had gone darker. In Abigail Zealey Bess' well-honed production, there are a lot of great belly laughs…But it's not afraid to go deeper, and Sutherland beautifully plays his character's inner conflict, especially in the wrenching last scene. The Von Trapps might make it over the mountain, but Rolfe learns the hard way that Liesl isn't the only one who's totally unprepared to face a world of men."
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August 17th, 2016
For a previous production

"Allusions to 'Sound of Music' are acknowledged unabashedly in the writing and provide a welcome comedic edge to an inherently dark story. If a good number of references undoubtedly went over my head, the cast’s impressive ability to play to the truth of the text meant this never bothered me...Certainly 'Rolfe' will appeal to fans of 'Sound of Music;' what's perhaps even more important is that it will also appeal to those who might not count the classic musical among their favorite things."
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August 15th, 2016
For a previous production

“Getting comic mileage with just a few choice bits of song, lyrics and dialogue from its source, Bergh's play is otherwise soundly and commendably rooted in its serious depiction of Nazi indoctrination of youth...It only takes five chairs, one table and five fine actors to create the dispiriting ambiance of late 1930s Salzburg under the smooth direction of Abigail Zealey Bess, who moves things forward with short and snappy confrontational scenes that afford increasingly emotional content."
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August 22nd, 2016
For a previous production

“There are plenty of knowing winks to the audience here to entertain ‘Sound of Music’ fans...Though these references certainly stand out, they don’t feel out of place with the rest of the play, whose witty tone makes the show a pleasure to watch...At the same time, the production deals with some heavy subject matter, and 'Rolfe' manages to balance its wit and cheery show tune references perfectly with its weighty take on the Nazi Party’s rise...The production unsettles even as it entertains."
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August 16th, 2016
For a previous production

"Not a campy spoof...I suppose there are good reasons why Bergh’s play shouldn’t work. But it did for me, in part because it’s a fascinating exercise to re-view 'The Sound of Music' from the oblique perspective of some of its minor characters…Director Bess takes the material seriously and ratchets up the tension, aided by the fine acting of its five-member cast…Above all, Logan Sutherland makes for a believable Rolfe...For all the inevitability of the ending, it is no less chilling."
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August 29th, 2016
For a previous production

"'The Radicalization of Rolfe' is an interesting angle of a lesser-shared narrative utilizing a well-known story. But it completely confuses the tone...Bergh’s play gets tonally confused as the only moments people laugh are through the well-timed references to the score. If we’re supposed to find light in the situation, Bergh truly needs to go further with the humor...'Rolfe' is a brilliant concept that wasn’t as well executed as it needed to be."
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August 15th, 2016
For a previous production

“Fortunately, Bergh has some amusing tricks up his sleeve, and ‘Rolfe’, has some giggles along its protracted way, leading up to a genuinely, unexpectedly chilling fade out. It just doesn’t add up to a lot...So, is there humor in these supporting-character antics? Yes, but a lot of it is of the most obvious sort...There’s not a lot of subtext or physicality to the proceedings; about all director Abigail Zealey Bess can do is keep the pace brisk, and she manages that.”
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A
August 14th, 2016
For a previous production

"The highlight of the show was the depiction of the loving relationship between Rolfe and Johan. Logan Sutherland, a talented, charismatic actor with a strong stage presence, was perfectly cast as Rolfe Gruber. Alex J. Gould's natural acting style was well-suited for his portrayal of Johan...You won't regret seeing 'The Radicalization of Rolfe.' While it needs a little touching up, you will still have a very good time at this show."
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