Philadelphia Weekly, January 4, 2011
Terrible disfigurement apparently makes for great entertainment—at least, that’s the basis of TLC’s primetime lineup. But before there were Little People in a big world and a girl Born Without a Face, there was Joseph Merrick—freak-show attraction, specter of the London streets and eventual toast of Victorian high society. The notorious Elephant Man roamed 19th-century England with a burlap sack over his bulbous head, gawked at by circus attendees, recoiled from by nurses and doted upon by socialites (tragically deformed people were the Pomeranians of the hoop-skirted set). Merrick rears his giant head in Philadelphia in Fever Dream Repertory’s production of Bernard Pomerance’s 1979 Broadway version of the fabulous freak’s sad life. Wade Andrew Corder follows in the footsteps of role originator Philip Anglim and modern-day iconic weirdos David Bowie and Mark Hamill, portraying Merrick sans makeup and prosthetics, depicting his deformation entirely through tortured movement. -Lauren Smith
Through Jan. 20. 8pm. $20-$25. The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. 267.997.3799. adriennelive.com
Photo: Matthew Hurst.