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Fort Fringe – Redrum

Remaining Performances:

Thursday, July 19, 10 p.m. Saturday, July 21, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 28, 8:45 p.m.

They say: “It’s the 1950s. Everything’s peachy for pretty Poppy Topp, the perfect American teenager. Then a weird new girl hits town. Local playwright David Minton exposes ‘the scandalous and critical facts’ of a threat to our very way of life…surrealism.”

Stephanie’s Take: Beauty icons of the 1950s weren’t the stick-thin, airbrushed models that fashion magazines idealize today. But they certainly weren’t chubby. Attractiveness for females was—and, to some degree, continues to be—connoted with a petite physique and matching meek personality. But why?

There’s no explicit rule which declares that approval from the high school football captain equates to teenage popularity. Yet that memo never reached Poppy Topp (Clare Lefebure). Girls Who Think They’re Hot mocks this socially constructed concept of beauty and normalcy to ask why it’s weird when Skrunk (Claire Koenig) digs with a spoon to China—a state of mind, not the country.

David Minton‘s zealous yet simplistic dialogue pokes fun at the ridiculous normal versus an absurd surreal. Although her character originates from the former end of that spectrum, Lefebure uses expressive body language and an almost hyper-emotional line delivery to demonstrate the silliness of the gender norms that constrict her character. She strikes a nearly flawless balance between blunt overacting (which a couple of the other actors fall prone to) and overdramatizing the role to reveal how unquestioningly we accept societal norms.

Koenig and Michael Novello (as the narrator) master their comedic roles, giving this mockumentary an intentional sense of the absurd. Particularly for a group of mainly high school actors, the cast works well together to show us the dichotomy between realism and surrealism. It’s certainly an unusual play, but that’s exactly what it’s going for.

See it if: You believe mustache glasses are necessary for dancing.

Skip it if: You strictly abide conventional notions of beauty.