The Shop at Fort Fringe

Remaining Performances:
Saturday, July 25 @ 6:30 p.m.

They say: “Destinies of a European countess and a humble American chambermaid collide at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Swords of steel penetrate gender norms, true identities are freely explored, and one man discovers it is better to receive than to give.”

Hilary’s take: I’m not sure if the Shark Tank Players’ production is the worst play I’ve ever seen or the greatest gender-bending burlesque send-up I’ve ever seen. It’s likely both, and it’s undeniably good, dirty fun.

At the Chicago World’s Fair, BFF’s and fearless shemales Penelope (Lacey Carriage) and Felicity (Goober Cemetery) cross paths (and cross-dress) with Countess Cornelia (the sublime Monti Gilmore), a Dionysian figure the size of Saturn much beloved by her loyal lesbian sex vixens whose breasts she names for the planet’s moons. The Countess knows her way around a sword, and Felicity seeks her fencing expertise to seduce Douglas (Peanut Norway), Penelope’s brother.

But the way to her man’s heart is not so simple. Douglas, whose clingy trousers leave little (okay, all 8 inches) to the imagination, conflates fencing and frottage, humping rather than fighting his opponents. Penelope is more than happy with Douglas’ same-sex distractions, for she harbors a secret love for Felicity (and women, generally). But when the mysterious, intriguing George Sand (Missy Peyton) enters the scene, Douglas and Penelope are smitten; only one gets the girl in the end (literally). It is indeed a story about love, sex, and dominance as the program suggests, replete with sword play both above and below the belt.

Uncorseted is a winding, wildly hilarious ride from lights up to lights down, and all the characters and conflicts are flung to the fore from the get go—-after all, the show’s only got 30 minutes to climax. But I would not have protested to spending all night with “nipple consultant” Jetta Bra-man’s handiwork (I’ll never again look at my flesh-colored bras in the same way) and Carriage and Cemetery’s perfect, stiff-as-a-strap-on delivery. The plastic-y fright wigs, the  half-assed transvestism (all men sported at least six o’ clock shadows), the barren staging. It’s an amalgam of great, bad-on-purpose decisions that—-much to the cast and crew’s credit—-yields Fringe gold.

See it if: You came to Fringe to see something Fringetastic, or at the very least, some boobs. Also, see it if you enjoy swag, i.e. booby cupcakes and “First Family” keychains.

Skip it if:Dangling dildos and lesbian sex vixens don’t tickle your funny bone.