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Baldacchino Tent Bar – Fort Fringe

Remaining performances:

Saturday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 24 at 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m.

They say: This original song cycle looks at the anxieties, insecurities and joys of dating and friendship in your late twenties and early thirties, with live music by the team that brought you the hit Disco Jesus and the Apostles of Funk.

Jonelle’s take: Let’s cut to the chase: You, or Whatever I Can Get is fantastic. You’ve probably already heard that. From conception, it was destined for Fringe greatness. The original song cycle was devised by emerging company Flying V and the clever minds behind last year’s smash musical success Disco Jesus and the Apostles of Funk. The show touches on popular Fringe topics like social media, dating, sex, drinking, and nerdy subcultures. This is a good-time musical in the Baldacchino Tent Bar. However, what makes You, or Whatever I Can Get great is not simply that it fills in the mold of a successful Fringe show, but that it also expands beyond that mold and reaches towards the vibrating heartstring of the zeitgeist.

The plot is simple: Phil’s (Vaughn Irving) girlfriend since college has just broken up with him. He’s about to turn 30. His friends Victoria (Suzanne Edgar), Jen (Farrell Parker), and Dennis (Doug Wilder) ease him into the single wild-west of online dating and explore their own relationship statuses with significant others, each other, and themselves.

The cast – serving double duty as writers and performers – crafts characters that you will immediately recognize. Irving’s Phil is your friend from college who dated that same girl you sort of liked for way too long, but you love his good-guy values. Edgar’s Victoria is the girl who dreams of a wedding and settles for someone mediocre.  Parker’s Jen is the party girl who wants to slow down … someday. Wilder’s Dennis is the man-child who makes you laugh, but everyone knows he’s hiding an interior disaster zone. Each performance is textured and clear, but Wilder’s is the most memorable. His swagger, razor sharp comedic timing, and fearless rendition of “Alone In The Apartment” makes one wonder how he’s escaped the attention of Hollywood producers.

The centerpiece of You, or Whatever I Can Get is the music. Steve Przybylski’s tight music direction gives this first-time musical a polished sheen.  Songs like “Last Sober Guy At The Party” (Ensemble) and “Shit, I Think I Like You” (Parker and Wilder) will surely create demand for an original cast recording.

It is a shame that this has been marketed as an online dating musical because that criminally oversimplifies the emotional truth at the heart of this piece. Parker’s tender performance of “Collapsible Heart” is where it really hits: this musical isn’t about dating, it’s about intimacy. What this piece touches on so astutely is that the fear of dating in 2014 isn’t meeting total strangers from the internet and it surely isn’t casual sex. The fear of dating in 2014 is emotional vulnerability, and often that fear has its most painful panging with the people we live with, went to school with, or even people we’re already having sex with.

Even if musicals are not your taste, you should still see You, or Whatever I Can Get because it is that rare bird that is populist, entertaining, and smart. If you do miss it, don’t worry too much; this piece will have a long life beyond July 27th.

See it if: You’re searching for the latest soundtrack to your life because you’re burned out on Kerrigan-Lowdermilk.

Skip it if: You don’t mind slowly sipping your beer while everyone else talks about it.