Flying V’s musical comedy You, or Whatever I Can Get was already in fine shape when it premiered at the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival. A chronicle of four housemates in their late 20s to early 30s, each weathering romantic and/or existential crises of varying intensities, the show soars not on invention but on bright melodies, solid jokes, and winning performances. The four principal players—Suzanne Edgar, Vaughn Irving, Farrell Parker, and Doug Wilder (all of whom collaborated with director Jason Schlafstein and musical director Steve Przybylski on the book, music, and lyrics)—are sympatico as comedians, which matters much more than the fact that their gifts as singers are not all equal. (Wilder’s brief attempt to sing in Irving’s register is one of the show’s better self-aware jokes.) While the program doesn’t list the song titles, the ones that may or may not be called “I’m 30; I’m Gonna Die Alone,” “The Online Dating Song,” “Maybe No One Knows What They’re Doing,” and the Johnny Cash-inflected “Last Sober Guy at the Party” all deserve to have an afterlife.
The story, such as it is, is just a platform for the writing committee’s loosely autobiographical ruminations on post-collegiate, premarital life. Irving’s sweet, shy Phil is reeling from a breakup and the attendant detonation of his self-esteem. His vision-board-using pal Victoria (Edgar) protests too much that her engagement to her long-distance boyfriend is going swell. Bartender Jen (Parker) is cheerfully promiscuous, while Wilder’s Dennis—like Phil, recently dumped—talks a big game but hasn’t summoned the will to pry himself off his friends’ couch in months.
Jos A. Musumeci’s set includes a revolve that enables more elaborate choreography than was possible in the sweaty confines of the old Gypsy Tent Bar at the now-demolished Fort Fringe on New York Avenue NW, and the principal cast has been expanded by a few ensemble players in various roles who give the show a broader sense of scale. The sound in Silver Spring’s Black Box space is much better, too, allowing both the rock trio led by Przybylski on guitar to be clearly heard without obscuring any lyrics.
This expanded rewrite includes several songs not heard in the Fringe production, which have the effect of deepening the relationships among the characters and giving their respective dilemmas more or less equal stage time, and of slowing the momentum in the second act just a little. A new thread in which Phil and Jen (siblings now, where they weren’t before) ponder what the failure of their parents’ marriage portends for their own futures gives the show a greater sense of maturity than in had in its boisterous tent-bar infancy. It’s still plenty boisterous, don’t worry. And funny, and sympathetic, and sad. It’s the whole package.
8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $20–$30. flyingvtheatre.com.