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‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore

The Warehouse, 1019 7th Street NW

Remaining Performances:

Friday, July 16 at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, July 17 at 10:00 p.m. Sunday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m.

They Say: “A juicy story of secret lovers, betrayal, incest and revenge, among the most controversial plays in English literature — See it onstage: all the romance, all the lust, all the blood! From the theatre that brought you “Jack the Ticket Ripper.””

Glen’s Take: The historical rap on ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore — the thing to which the Georgetown Theatre Company folks are referring, with that “most contrversial” jazz —  is that the play, written in 1629 or so, revels in debauchery (incest, bloody vengeance, post-mortem dismemberment, etc.) without ever carving out a moral center.

I know, right?  In a post-Tarantino America, the complaint seems kind of … adorable.

Props to director Alia Faith Williams and company for having done the hard, good work of paring a play that usually runs over three hours down to a spry-ish 90 minutes by neatly excising huge chunks of text. The result isn’t as clean as it could be — denied their respective subplots, Frank O’Donnell‘s Richardetto and Nathan Cederoth‘s Grimaldi just sort of hang around as if they’re waiting for the next bus out of town. But as a canny, quick-on-his-feet servant, Terence Aselford gets some nice, oily bits of business in, and Lindsay Duso sinks her teeth into her woman scorned with an unapologetic and at times downright operatic brashness that’s big, yes, but you can’t say it doesn’t fill the stage and goose the energy.

The two leads, Evan Crump and Jessica Shearer Wilson are only given one note to play, though you may wish for a bit more variation in tone from Crump’s Giovanni. Scene to scene, his delivery vacillates between insistent and shrill — and even if you’re prepared to cut him some slack on the forcefulness front, given that his character is both 1. a pompous academic and 2. consumed with boning his sister, it’d be nice to see more of an arc.

Playwright John Ford (no, not that one – but how awesome would THAT be?) wrote dialogue that’s clean, vigorous and often funny, and it’s done good service here.  The fight choreography’s tight, and features characters shouting things like “Have at you!” and “Vengeance!”,  which: Yes, please.

The much-discussed blood doesn’t really show up till the closing minutes, but when it does there’s gouts of it; and the play’s most famous image —a grisly cardio-kebab — will put you off Fort Fringe burgers for a day or so.

See it if: VC Andrews-brand siblings + “Have at you!” + Post-mortem dismemberment = Your winning formula.

Skip it if: You’re unwilling to wait a bit to get your visceral ya-yas out, and routinely eat dessert first.

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