Bucharest Calling

A gifted young company from Romania is bringing two pieces to the Fringe Festival: Bucharest Calling and The Sunshine Play. The former is the initial offering and seems to present the seamy underside of Bucharest life in the post-Communist era. But one soon realizes these are not the city's criminals (though a prostitute and pimp are on hand) but ordinary people just trying to get through the day. Ultimately, the message comes across: Bucharest, like the mother in the play, is paralyzed and dying — but dying with a smile.

The five actors interact with believable spontaneity as romances rise and fall and brothers and sisters connect and disconnect. The actors' clear English is enhanced by appealing Romanian accents. Under Ana Margineanu's astute direction, the story plays out in a series of short staccato scenes enhanced by appropriate slides and videos. Bucharest Calling brings a fresh, welcome voice to the festival.

Presented by Monday Theatre @ Green Hours and ArCub as part of the New York International Fringe Festival

at the Lafayette Street Theatre, 45 Bleecker St., NYC.

Aug. 11-19. Remaining performances: Tue., Aug. 14, 3 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 16, 7 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 18, 10 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 19, noon.

(212) 279-4488 or (888) 374-6436 or www.fringenyc.org.