After a day of rest, week 2 of the eighth Capital Fringe Festival kicks off today with a vengeance: There are 30 performances scheduled this evening, give or take, starting between 5 and 10:15 p.m.
The slate overlaps substantially with the 30 shows, give or take, that the indefatigable Fringe & Purge Action News and Commentary Squad has reviewed so far. That puts us in a position to offer recommendations of shows going up tonight that met our stringent if admittedly somewhat arbitrary standards of excellence. Get thee chronologically hence, to…
Burlesque of Broadway (Baldacchino Gypsy Tent, 6:30 p.m.) —- A “a riotous good time for those who like musicals, puns about musicals, and sparkly pasties,” decrees our musicals/puns/pasties correspondent Rebecca J. Ritzel.
Recovery (Goethe Instituit – Gallery, 6:45 p.m.)—-I’ll add my own, admittedly biased endorsement to Lindsey Boyle’s. Mark Jason Williams‘s dramedy about love in a cancer ward boasts a terrific, layered performance from our own Rachel Mantueffel, who is as funny on stage as she is on the page, as a woman who’s trying to figure out how much to invest in her own survival during this, her third bout of treatment for leukemia. (Rachel’s my pal; bias bias bias buy-esssss.) Interspersed among scenes of her spurning heartbroken fellow patient Grant Cloyd is another maybe-romance and a series of posthumous monologues from patients recounting their own battles with cancer. Funny, sad, and funny-sad.
& Afterwards (Warehouse, 8:45 p.m.)—-John Kevin Boggs is one of the most reliably enthralling performers on D.C.’s stage-storytelling scene. This one-man show recounting his arrival in Washington 20 years ago and his journey to maturity and self-acceptance, told through anecdotes from his years working at the storied all-night bookshop/cafe Kramerbooks & Afterwards, eschews narrative tricks. “Boggs’ anecdotes resonate so deeply with the audience that no one really minds a story told from beginning to end,” says our Caroline Jones. Misconception: The Lost Gospel of Christmas (Studio Theatre Stage 4, 9 p.m.) —- This irreverently reverent musical about the credibility problems presented by the immaculate conception works best as a vehicle for Mark Swanson‘s superb songwriting, reports our own super-prolific Brett Abelman. But is it really possible Swanson has written a song on this subject as good as The New Pornographers‘ “Joseph, Who Understood”? Perhaps. Perhaps.
The Tragical Mirth of Marriage and Love: Short Scenes from Anton Chekov (Fort Fringe – The Shop, 9:15 p.m.)—-“This is Chekhov the hack; Chekhov the vaudeville writer; Chekhov the crass, caricature-penning writer-for-hire,” observes Camila Domonoske. “The five short plays in this show are unbelievable, overacted, absurd, and completely delightful.” Got game, our Ms. Domonoske does. Chekov, too, I guess.
Finally, we haven’t had a chance to review Cabaret XXX: Who Do You Think You Are?, which is at the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent at 8:30, yet, but the prior two Cabaret XXX-es have both been NSFW fun, and we’ll always bet on the ladies of Pinky Swear Productions. We’ll be having them back on the Fringe & Purgecast later this week.