Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our annual Fringe round-up: enjoy

We've entered the last week of Fringe, and just like last year, I've put together my roundup of the show's that got 5's from DC Theatre Scene and still have showings left. When available, I've also added reviews from the Washington Post and Fringe and Purge (Washington City Paper's Fringe blog). Fringe and Purge posts end with a "see it/skip it" line so I've given you that too.

If you're thinking about seeing one show this year (or one more) you might start with this list:


  • July 24 @ 3:00 pm
  • Drama
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it: If you’re a fan of great acting and great dialogue.
    • Skip it: If you need an action-driven plot to hold your interest.
  • July 23 @ 8:15 pm
  • July 25@ 4:00 PM
  • Solo Performance
  • DCTS Review
  • July 22 @ 9:15 PM
  • Drama
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it if: You take a socially conscious interest in the child welfare system.
    • Skip it if: You like your metatheater a bit more transcendent.
  • July 22 @ 8:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 10:30 pm
  • July 25 @ 1 pm
  • Comedy
  • DCTS Review
  • Washington Post Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See It If: You refuse to believe that there is ever more than one way to teach a sex-ed class.
    • Skip It If: You still have nightmares from having watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show on your high school class trip to Florida.
  • July 21 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 10:00 pm
  • Solo Performance
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it: If you’re a foodie, a fan of great storytelling, and/or want to see one of the best shows at Fringe this year.
    • Skip it: If you’re on a diet or immune to the joys of food.
  • July 24 @ 7:00 pm
  • July 20 @ 9:00 pm
  • July 23 @ 10:30 pm
  • Solo Performance
  • DCTS Review
  • July 23 @ 8:15 pm
  • July 24 @ 4:00 pm
  • Musical Theater
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it if: You yen for an intimate Dolly Parton concert, but are looking for more affordable tickets. You won’t be disappointed.
    • Skip it if: You like your Galacticas preceded by Battlestars.
  • July 24 @ 8:00 pm
  • Comedy
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it if: You’re prone to powerful fits of nostalgia for the Golden age of radio and fedora-wearing.
    • Skip it if: You reject out of hand the notion that sometimes style is substance.
  • July 23 @ 10:30 pm
  • July 24 @ 5:30 pm
  • July 25 @ 6:30 pm
  • Experimental
  • DCTS Review
  • July 23 @ 8:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 2:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 8:00 pm
  • Musical Theater
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See It If: You believe the best playwrights do their work on stage while the play is happening.
    • Skip It If: You enjoy watching Hamlet because you know there is only one way for it to end each time.
  • July 21 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 22 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 25 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 20 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 22 @ 10:30 pm
  • July 25 @ 1:00 pm
  • Drama
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See It If: You’ve always been frustrated that the grandest excesses of Greek tragedies traditionally happen offstage. (Because Burke puts ‘em downstage center — vividly.)
    • Skip It If: You can’t keep your Furies and your Fates straight — or even a brisk hour devoted to infanticide is more than you want your Fringe to include.
  • July 21 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 2:00 pm
  • Solo Performance
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it If: You don’t know much (or do know a whole lot) about the campaign to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and think personal narratives can make for thought-provoking theatre.
    • Skip It If: Tales of lobbying, political jockeying, the ethics of leadership, and fundraising with movie stars bores you.
  • July 22 @ 10:00 pm
  • July 23 @ 11:00 pm
  • July 25 @ 7:00 pm
  • July 20 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 10:00 pm
  • July 23 @ 7:15 pm
  • July 24 @ 12:30 pm
  • July 25 @ 3:15 pm
  • Musical Theater
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See It If: You are equally devoted to the tunes of “the American songbook” as WNYC’s Jonathan Schwartz.
    • Skip It If: You believe that any music without a drumbeat is archaic, if not downright awful.
  • July 20 @ 8:00 pm
  • July 23 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 22 @ 8:00 pm
  • July 25 @ 5:00 pm
  • July 20 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 1:30 pm
  • Drama
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See It If: The melancholy-yet-menacing siren song of the sea calls to you. Or you’re just a bargain hunter looking for the best minutes-per-dollar deals that Fringe has to offer.
    • Skip It If: You always thought Meat Loaf was kind of full of it when he claimed that “Two out of three ain’t bad.”
  • July 25 @ 6:30 pm
  • Drama
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it if: VC Andrews-brand siblings + “Have at you!” + Post-mortem dismemberment = Your winning formula.
    • Skip it if: You’re unwilling to wait a bit to get your visceral ya-yas out, and routinely eat dessert first.
  • July 22 @ 8:00 pm
  • July 24 @ 6:00 pm
  • July 25 11:30 am
  • July 21 @ 8:00 pm
  • July 25 @ 11:00 am
  • Musical Theater
  • DCTS Review
  • Fringe and Purge Review
    • See it if: You like music and high quality performers with ‘Rent’-esque moments.
    • Skip it if: You don’t want to hear even a second of Toad the Wet Sprocket meets Nelson. (Look ‘em up for a laugh.)

Two More reviews from Tzvi

Hours gets a 3. Here's the review.

7 Lessons on Suicide gets a 4. Here's the review.


If you want to read the rest of tzvi's reviews, click here.

Check out the rest of our Fringe coverage here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another fringe review from Tzvi: Case 22

Our friend Tzvi raves about Case22:

In a pivotal scene in the second half of Case 22, a judge tasked with assessing a case of alleged child abuse engages in careful deliberation, reaches a verdict, assembles the courtroom, raises his gavel and – sorry, scratch that.

Actually, after exhibiting zero signs of deliberative exertion, the judge raises a hammer and proceeds to wield it with the veritable absence of subtlety that its actual function implies. It’s a wickedly clever flourish that speaks to the pitch-black comedic sensibility of Case 22, a play that seamlessly operates on multiple levels of meaning and structure even as its central theme, the decidedly unfunny subject of child abuse, remains undiminished by the attendant shenanigans.
Click here to read the rest of the review.

If you want to read the rest of tzvi's reviews, click here.

Check out the rest of our Fringe coverage here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My fourth fringe review: Miss Teen Jesus Pagent

This is one of those reviews I had to disclaim. Here's what I said:

Final score: 1 out of 5

Disclaimer: This show clearly has a target audience. I am not in that target. If you enjoy jokes about drag queens, jokes about ridiculous evangelical preachers, or jokes about JR’s Bar on 16th Street, this show might be for you. There were clearly people in the audience tonight who enjoyed it (some even gave it a standing ovation.) But …
Holy Crap! And by that I mean that Miss Teen Jesus Pageant is a lot of crap about some holy stuff. This play is a 120-minute bout of silliness that has liberated itself from the “pointless” confines of plot and structure and intentionality. To say this play is a rough draft is generous. It feels more like an idea that seemed really funny at 3:00 am and which got turned into a play later that same day. Miss Tean was high school-ish in all the worst ways. There were more missed cues than laugh lines. There were more inexplicable plot points than there were coherent moments. The playwrights (Ferinelli Sensino and Lobo Lagodi*) may had had a point to make, but they have hidden it beneath so many unintelligible twists and turns that it was impossible to discern.
Click here to read the rest of this review.

Check out the rest of our Fringe coverage here.

Fringe Review: the hunchback Variations

Score: 3/5

The Hunchback Variations feels like a production of Waiting for Godot performed by the Marx Brothers. It is simultaneously high-brow and silly. Although I would have to say it’s less effective than Waiting for Godot, and the comedy is less refined than the Marx Brothers. The effect can best be described as “puzzling”.
Click here to read the rest of this review.

Check out the rest of our Fringe coverage here.

Fringe review number two: Showcase Showdown

Score: 5/5

It was clear that the sizable and chatty crowd in the Burke Theatre was ready to have a blast. The Fringe goers who were looking for a subdued evening of theatre had gone other places. This was going to silly fun. And Speakeasy DC did not disappoint with The Showcase Showdown...
Click here to read the rest of this review.

Check out the rest of our Fringe coverage here.

Friend of DB's fringe reviews

Friend of District Beat and fabulous writer, Tzvi, is also reviewing Fringe for DCTS. Here's his first review:

Score: 4/5

“My name is Slash Coleman. I’m a Jewish scientist – in my mind.” With these opening words, the performer of the one-man show Chaidentity articulates ground rules that, not surprisingly, he quickly defies. For as Coleman well knows, the quest to establish a coherent Jewish identity in the American melting pot – an effort so ubiquitous in American Jewish life and literature that it has become a cliché of a cliché – cannot succeed by positing a series of evidentiary propositions that lead organically to logical conclusions. Instead, science gives way to the messier whims of historical consciousness, collective memory and subjective human experience, which in Coleman’s case encompass primarily – what else? – the Holocaust, intermarriage, assimilation, aging rabbis with Yiddish inflections, and a healthy dose of confusion and agonized introspection.
Click here to read the rest of this review.

If you want to read the rest of tzvi's reviews, click here.

Check out the rest of our Fringe coverage here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fringe review 1: Losing It

Here's my first Fringe Festival Post of the season:

Final score: 4/5

Losing It begins with a tantrum. Madeleine Russell, the play’s author and star, storms on stage, bellows, and throws a chair, a stack of books, some trash and a potted plant to the ground. She comes close to chucking a laptop before calming down. It was, needless to say, an abrasive start and, frankly, I was skeptical. Would this play would be more yelling than acting? I am happy to report that, over the next hour, Russell did a lot to win me over.
Click here to read the rest of this review.

Check out the rest of our Fringe coverage here.

I'm back (for a few)

Hello faithful readers,
As you have probably noticed, DistrictBeat has been on a bit of a haitus. Wedding planning... need I say more. But in 36 Days, that will all be wraped up, and I can go back to being a blogger.

But I am taking a hiatus from hiatus and helping out DC Theatre Scene with their coverage of the 2010 Capitol Fringe Festival (July 8-25) As you may remember, this is my favorite summertime event (besides my wedding, of course). So, I'll be reposting my reviews here over the next few days. I hope this will tide you over until 20Something, LadyAWsome and all your DB friends make their triumphant return at the end of the summer.

Thanks for your readership.

20Something
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