Fringe founder Julianne Brienza plays THE MATCH GAME, Friday, July 16. Image (c) Andrew Bossi, Flickr.

Remaining Performances:

Sunday, July, 17th, at 3 p.m.
Saturday, July 23rd, at 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 24th, at 6:30 p.m.

They say: “Get ready to fill in the blanks and laugh yourself silly at a live stage version of the classic TV game show, Match Game. Contestants match answers with a panel of six local celebrities to win cash and prizes! Proceeds support three area non-profit organizations.”

Lindsey’s Take: This show is not for everyone. Be prepared for clowns yelling “vagina”, discussions on naked cooking, farm animals, and celebrities flashing one another. And lots of booze.

The celebrities are fabulous and are participating to raise money for three local charities. The host and announcer, each in double-breasted suits, wrangle the celebrities and auction items for charity during the “commercial breaks” – because you didn’t bring a remote. The contestants are pulled from the audience (get there early to put your name in the running) as foils for the ridiculous antics on stage. The situations are adult, the references are sexual and the profanity is constant. Without gratuitous innuendo, plenty of booze and terrible puns, this retro remake could have been a little more civilized, but certainly not more fun.

The celebrities were the stars of the show… not because they are larger-than-life famous, but because they were clearly having such a party on stage. The local lineup changes for each show, but performers, drag queens, artists, chefs and media personalities make repeat appearances. At the Friday night show I saw, Capital Fringe Festival Director Julianne Brienza kept refilling her fellow celebrity panelists’ drinks. Drag queen of note Queen Bambi spent the better part of the show playing with her boobs. Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnots proprietor Pixie Windsor was the big spender in the evening’s auctions, and she brought cookies for the audience and wigs for the other celebs. Bond 45 Executive Chef Enzo Febbraro threatened to take his pants off, and sideshow girl Mab Just Mab—a “tenured freak” at Red Palace—added “(in bed)” to every single answer she wrote. The host spent most of the show just trying to get them to answer the questions. Every lineup is different, but this one was perfect for a Friday night.

For this particular show, the celebrities were allowed (encouraged?) to bring drinks with them on stage, which became a running joke. Is there ice? Where’d the vodka go? Sorry guys, I am really intoxicated. I promise you, it was hilarious.

The energy up on stage reverberated in the audience, with raucous catcalls and dirty fill-in-the-blank answers coming from the house as much as from the contestants. Except for one jealous boyfriend who absolutely did not want his contestant boyfriend on stage to take his shirt off, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves immensely. They also enjoyed yelling “Take your shirt off” in response to every command from Jealous Boyfriend. And that was before the game even started.

If all that sounds like a hilarious evening at the theater, Match Game is the show for you.

See it if: Drunken debauchery, sexual innuendo and ’70s game shows describe your ideal Friday night.

Skip it if: You like your Fringe shows shaken, not stirred.  

See Andrew Bossi‘s incriminating photos from the performance of The Match Game DC reviewed here.