Friday, July 24, 2009

I want to see a Fringe show this weekend, what should I see?

As you know, it's the last weekend of fringe, and you may be looking for one more great show to see before the festival is over. Well, let me make this easy for you. Below is a list of all the shows that are playing in this final weekend of Fringe that got 5s from DCTS, along with their last performance times, genre, and the reviews from DCTS and Fringe and Purge. I hope you find it helpful.

2 shows: DISORDER / PLANT PSYCHIC: Hilary Kacser, Actor-Manager, with
Children of Medea: Sue Jin SongDiamond Dead (Continued...): The Landless Theatre CompanyDizzy Miss Lizzie's Roadside Revue- The Saints: Charlie Fink Presents: Dizzy Miss Lizzies Roadside RevueHeadscarf and the Angry Bitch: Zehra FazalIrish Authors Held Hostage: J. T. Burian TheatricalsMagnum Opus: Opera AlternaMissing Pages a new play by Susan Austin Roth: Susan Austin RothRosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead: Nu Sass ProductionsSo Do You Love Me Yet?: Farah LawalThe Oresteia: Keegan Theatre/Dizzy Miss Lizzie's Roadside RevueThe Teacher's Lounge or One Child Left Behind: The Washington RoguesThe Terrorism of Everyday Life: Ed HamellThey Call Me Mister Fry: Sew and Sew ProductionsVincent: Theatre Du Jour

If you want to see some brilliant Fringe this weekend, see The Girls Inside

Final Performance: Saturday 7/25 @ 3:15.

Now, I’ll start this out by saying that one of my best friends was in this show, so I am clearly biased. That’s why I didn’t review it for DCTS. But if you want to read an unbiased report, check out the glowing reviews on DCTS or at Fringe and Purge.

This show is what Fringe is all about. It is short and poignant. It is conceptual and realistic. It is urban, and exciting, and powerful. It tells us something we did not know, and moves us at every turn. And then, once it’s sufficiently made its point, it lets it rest, so as to not beat it to death.

The Girls Inside is the story of four young women who are incarcerated at the Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s Center in Laurel, MD. It is thoughtfully written by Leayne C. Freeman. It avoids cliché in a genre where that might be particularly hard, and gives us some real insight into the lives of these girls. The stars, Adena Good, Jo Higbee, Anyanna Hardy, and Zurin Villanueva are all wonderful. The float easily from longingly recollecting their childhoods to heart-wrenchingly discussing their current circumstances. Villanueva, the star of Arena Stage’s Crowns last spring, is particularly wonderful. Her beautiful singing voice is backed up by some powerful acting chops.

I won’t dwell. I will, however, say that this play is engaging from start to finish, and that if you are looking to have a real Fringe experience, this is how I’d do it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

2 more reviews up at DCTS

Two more Fringe reviews have been posted:

Pepe: the Mail Order Monkey Musical

The Escapades of Farty Johnson

Here's a sample:
There’s a certain, ineffable quality of some shows that I can only describe as “fringyness”. It is hard to say what makes a show fringy. Certainly there are some theatrical conventions that are fringier than others. Clowning is fringy, as is audience participation. Inside the beltway jokes are fringy, as are hand panted, cardboard set pieces. A show may have all of these things and still not be fringy, but then again a show may have any one of a number of elements, that, when put together, create a whole that is fringier than the sum of its parts. I suspect this is why many of us go to Fringe. These elements, which might annoy us in a play any other time of year, are suddenly what we crave for three weeks in July. I expect a certain level of fringyness in my festival outings, and I’m often bored if I don’t get it.

If you like where that's going, click here to read on.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2 more reviews up on DCTS

We saw two plays on Thursday, and now my reviews are up on DC Theatre Scene. You should read my posts but I'll sum them up in a few words here:

Two Shorts in Black and White: skip it. The second short doesn't do that much to redeem the drek that is the first

The A Cappella Party: Fun. You probably have to see it if you ever sang in a college a cappella group, and I know a lot of DB readers did. If you know what the word "gorf" means, I'm talking to you! If you don't fall into this category, read my post for a full break down of how much you need to see this show.

I have seen 2 fringe shows today, and I'm off to a third soon, so I'll have more reviews for you tomorrow.

Go see fringe shows! Tell us what you liked in comments!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Fringe Reviews

Friend of District Beat, Tzvi, has his first two Fringe reviews up at DC Theatre Scene. Check 'em out:

They're not glowing, but he seems to be enjoying himself. I hope he gets to see something truly amazing before the festival is over (I hope you do too). I heard really good things about Titus X, if that helps.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Best Budget Bite in July is the Baldacchino

Restaurant: Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar
Address: 607 New York Ave, NW
Metro: Mt. Vernon Sq (green/yellow) or Gallery Place/Chinatown (red/green)
Genre: Fringy
Cost: $5-10
Through: July 26
Rating: 5/5 “Starving Artists”

I wanted to let you now about some yummy, cheap eats that support a great cause. Those smart folks of the Fringe Festival staff have set up a bar and restaurant at 607 New York Ave., NW which they call the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar (named after the Italian restaurant that used to live on that site).

We've eaten there twice and the food is remarkably good. I recommend the Ginger-Teriyaki Turkey Burgers, which is 6 bucks. You can't beat that. They also have a fantastic selection of local and regional beers that are equally reasonably priced. Oh, and they have happy hour specials Wed-Fri from 5-6:30. And, the best part is that the proceeds go to sport Fringe and Fringe Artists. Now how can you say no to that?

So, if you're between fringe shows (as I will be a lot in the next few days), or if you live in the neighborhood (Lady AWesome and I just moved 5 blocks from here), or if you are just looking for a fun, bohemian place to hang in the Mt. Vernon and Gallery Place area, then you have to check out Baldacchino's Gypsy Tent Bar. And if you liked it (or even if you didn't) be sure to tell us about it in comments.

Fringe on!

Fring Blog #1

My first guest review for the Capitol Fringe Festival is up on DC Theatre Scene! Check it out (the review, not the show, as you will read). You should also check out DCTS's Fringe page to see what shows got good reviews.
I'm off to 2 plays tomorrow and then 4 this weekend, so I'm hoping to see something I can actually recommend to you all.

Yay for inter-blog love!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Last weekend to see a great art show

Performance: Artomatic
55 M Street, SE
Metro Stops
: Navy Yard-Green line.
: All the art… ever.
: Free!

Through: 7/5

Rating: 5/5 Starving Artists

I’ve been meaning to write a post about Artomatic, but I wanted to go first, and now it’s the last weekend and I’m going to miss it. But that doesn’t mean that you should have to miss it too. If you’re looking for something fun and free to do this weekend, I think this is a great option. We went a few times last year and loved it and Lady AWesome went this year.

Artomatic is a yearly festival that features local and national artists. Each year they take over a building and fill it to the rafters with Art of all kinds. There are paintings, sculptures, and instillations. Much of it is weird, some of it is stunning, but all of it is interesting. And, for those of you who are fans of PostSecret, they got their start at Artomatic and they have a display every year.

Admission is free and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. If you are looking for something to do on your holiday, check out Artomatic.

Caesar and the Seagull

Performance: The Seagull on 16th St
: Theater J.1529 16th Street NW

Metro Stops: Dupont Circle – Red line or U Street/Cardozo-Green line. Directions here.
: Wikipedia says it's a comedy. I'm not so sure
: All tickets are half price for people 35 and under (and the Sunday shows are only $30 to begin with).

There are also $10 tix from Goldstar and $15 Neighborhood Nights (use the code Dupont for Wed or Thurs tickets through the rest of the run).

Through: 7/19

Rating: 3.5/5 Starving Artists

A note: I’ve been really negligent in getting this post up, even though I saw this show over a week ago. This was due in part to the fact that we left for vacation, and in part because I wasn’t sure what to say. I’ll keep this short for both reasons.

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the title character notes, "He thinks too much: such men are dangerous". Though Caesar is talking about Cassius, he could just as easily be talking about the Seagull on 16th St, Theater J’s new production Chekhov’s classic. In an effort to include all of the headiness of the original play, and add new themes and undercurrents, the Theater J staff has created a play with so many thoughts that it becomes dangerously wordy, on the verge of crumbling under its own weight. This is not to say that the play is not good. It is certainly well preformed by a veteran cast. These stars shine, but they get buried under so many love triangles, subplots, and revelations that it is hard to focus on their performances. Theater J’s most notable addition to the original text is the introduction of a plotline that explores the Jewish identities of some of the characters. This text seems poorly grafted on, and it is difficult to see how it fits with the themes of the rest of the play, or why it was necessary.

The play is an interesting one. It is about the struggle to find one’s own identity, in the midst of family strife and unrequited love. The interplay between Arkadina (powerfully performed by Naomi Jacobson) and her son Treplev (Alexander Strain) was notably compelling. Treplev is trying to assert his own identity by launching a new theater company (in this version it is a Jewish Theater Company, in the original it is a part of the Russian Symbolist movement) while his mother, a star actress on summer holiday, steals his spotlight. This sets up a tense and complex storyline about artistic expression and individual identity that is one of the play’s most compelling themes.

So how can one feel about a play that says too many interesting things? Is too much of a good thing still a good thing? I recommend you go see the show and let me know what you thought in the comments.

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