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At the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent last night, Fringe & Purge checked in with Fringe Fanatic Alan King, who earned that commendation by seeing 51 CapFringe shows last year. CapFringe 2010 is already an attendance record-breaker, and perhaps it will be thus for Alan, too. When we caught up with him a little before 10 last night, he reported he’d taken in 21 shows thus far. Your Fringe & Purge Action News and Commentary Squad, meanwhile, is at this juncture — the festival’s midpoint — closing in on 50. And those are just the ones ’bout which we’ve blogged. So we’re totally lapping you, FF! Keep up!

King shared a trade secret with Fringe & Purge — specifically, the spreadsheet he’d created himself to keep himself on-mission: Definitely-gonna-make-the-gig ticketed shows are shaded in gray; if-I-can-squeeze-’em-in maybes are in white. Those maybes can surprise you: King isn’t usually isn’t a big one for solo shows, but he loved the Sheffy Gordon-approved Galactica in Irrelevant Acts of Entertainment. “Drag shows never struck me as the greatest entertainment, but she’s spectacular,” King said.

The Fringe Fanatic itinerary for today plotted a course for an epic 12 hours’ fringery, starting with the thoroughly Erin Pettyendorsed A Walk in the Woods at 11:30 and powering through to the final performance of the rather more economically Trey Grahamendorsed The Nina Variations, pending somebody offering him a ride home to Alexandria. The late-night bus service from the Metro can be kind of wonky, he reports.

One does not take the Fringe Fanatic crown by leaving transportation to chance: Alan timed himself hoofing it to Fort Fringe from The Studio Theatre at 14th and P NW a few days ago to allow for accurate travel estimates, clocking a very respectable 22 minutes. Not on one of our recent spate of 100-degree days. But on a day that was still very hot. Respect.

Anyway, this heatwave is nowhere near as incendiary as the political intrigue, maybe, sort of, at Redrum last night! At their 10 p.m. performance of The Tea Party Project, a show comprised largely of quotations from pundit Glenn Beck, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and other figures embraced by the Tea Party movement, DC Theatre Collective co-founder Jenny Lynn Towns (also a performer in the show) had to ask two patrons in the front row to stop filming the performance with an iPhone and laptop. The show was the subject of a story by conservative columnist Jillian Bandes on the website Town Hall last week. We’ll have more with Jenny about the relative dearth of political work in this year’s CapFringe in this space very soon.

We ran into the Fringe Fanatic again at, yes, a second helping of Superheroes Who Are Super! But as we explained, it’s a different show than the one that so delighted us last week. A weaker show, one that lost a notable chunk of its audience at the halftime break between the two consecutive issues of The Uncanny X-Men being performed.

Blame the superhuman heat in The Apothecary, blame scripter Chris Claremont’s exposition addiction, blame that guy who insisted on playing X-Men leader Cyclops like a stand-up comedian with a thyroid problem. Dude, have you ever read an issue of X-Men? Seen one of the movies? Cyke is the buttoned-down straight man, always. Consider your artistic license revoked! But we found Jessica Snow‘s choice to play the powerful psychic Phoenix as if she were just really, really high to be really, really inspired.

. . . sorry.

And in conclusion, get thee to a show! Tonight’s Fringe schedule includes performances of lots of entries already endorsed here:

Erin judges A Walk in the Woods CapFringe’s “marquee production.” What, already? (Yep, American Ensemble Theater is doing this one twice today.) Goethe Institut Gallery, 9 p.m.

Sheffy deemed Tape solid enough to, like, stick in your memory. The Clinic, 9:30 p.m.

“You Can’t Un-Eat a Baby,” Baby. Ian dug The Von Pufferhutte Family Singers! (the musical). Studio, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, I say The Washington Rogues’ Eight is at least a seven out of ten. Redrum, 11 p.m.

Finally, The Cornel West Theory plays two sets at Baldacchino Gypsy Tent starting around 10 p.m. Admission is free, so you can easily afford to buy Fringe & Purge a Southampton Double White. We’ll see you there!