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Fort Fringe — Redrum

Remaining Performances: Jul 14th 11:15 PM Jul 19th 6:15 PM Jul 21st 3:45 PM Jul 22nd 2:15 PM Jul 29th 6:45 PM

They say: How far will flattery get you? When husband–hunting in Paris, confronting your husband’s famous lover or mixing friendship and finance, it just might get you everywhere. Three eras. Six women. No ladies.

Catherine’s Take: Ladies’ night takes on a whole new meaning with theses gals! Triptych productions discovered three short plays in which women are duped by flattery. The first piece, Moliere’s The Affected Young Ladies, is the only one in which men do the duping — it’s also the only one with men. Two country girls, brought to Paris to marry, find their prospective husbands “mundane and boring” and long instead for romance. The girls are more silly than soulful; they expect reality to match bodice-ripper novels and get their comeuppance at the hands of two fake aristocrats, actually the servants of the suitors they rejected.

The women outshine the men in The Affected Young Ladies, although Mitchell Grant’s entrance is a show-stopper. The two girls are nicely delineated. As the pretentious leader of the pair, Julia Morrissey channels Joan Greenwood, while ingenue Kelsey Meiklejohn is so enthusiastic and chipper that you want to smack her. Moliere wrote the servant roles for two clowns (one performed in whiteface) and I wish Triptych’s actors had gone full commedia dell’arte with the roles. Some topical references, perhaps inspired by similar jokes in The Shakespeare Theatre’s Servant of Two Masters, were fun and funny surprises.

A Matter of Husbands, by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar is the strongest of the three scripts. Heather Benjamin radiates cultured warmth as the glam actress who Kelsey Meiklejohn suspects of husband-stealing. The plot takes an unexpected twist or two; this is why Molnar was one of the most popular playwrights of the early 20th century, folks! The clever script, sharp direction and crackerjack timing make A Matter of Husbands the strongest of the three.

The Mamet Women by Frederick Stroppel — the only modern playwright — imagines Mamet’s filthy-mouthed wheeler-dealers as women, wrangling over babysitting and business. The actors gleefully dive into Mamet’s testosterone-filled world, with hilarious results. Julia Morrissey’s phone monologue alone is worth the price of a Fringe ticket and button.

The Confines of Flattery succeeds both as a vehicle for Morrisey, Meiklejohn and Benjamin, and as a discovery project for cool scripts.

Playwrights: Moliere, Ferenc Molnar & Frederick Stroppel Show length: 60 minutes

See it if: You’re in the mood for laughs and comparative literature.

Skip it if: You like your Fringe shows edgy, violent or explicit.