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The Saints The Baldacchino at Fort Fringe
Remaining Performances: Thursday, July 16 at 9:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 19 at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 at 9:00 p.m. Sunday, July 26 at 12:30 p.m.
They say: “Saints, sinners, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Imagine Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, St. Augustine and a bevy of virgin martyrs singin’ songs around a celestial campfire. DMLRR Presents The Saints. Virtue and vaudeville. Burlesque and the blessed: Where the revival tent meets the carnie tent.”
Trey’s take: I’m inclined to agree with the buddy who sat next to me at this noisy, cheeky vaudeville — a handful of electroacoustic hagiographies from the crew what brought you last year’s smash-hit 70-minute Oresteia: “I think it’s
constitutionally empirically impossible to dislike this bunch these guys,” said my friend.
Roger that: Led by singer-songwriter Steve McWilliams and actor-director Debra Buonaccorsi, the outfit calls itself Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue, but they’d have done just as well namewise if they’d gone with The Platonic Ideal of Artists Who Fringe for the Sheer Joy of Performing. There’s a little belly-dance (courtesy of Buonaccorsi, as the spurned mistress of reformed hellion St. Augustine), a little honky-tonk (props to the raw little band, in which most everybody eventually takes part), a touch of panicky fortune-telling (from Felicia Curry, generating solid laughs as a highly strung St. Bernadette) and a whole lot of full-throated singing — all in service to the stories behind names you may know, especially if you’ve been properly catechised.
The irreligious may find things a mite confusing, I’ll admit, if only because the sound mix is sinfully iffy; song lyrics occasionally get muddied, along with whatever biographical details and theological fine points they might be trying to convey. And the curmudgeon huddling deep in my soul insists I whisper to the Rev. Buonnacorsi and her flock that when the pews in your canonically suspect revival tent are chock full of extroverted actorish types, your audience-participation bits are by definition going to annoy the civilians just a tetch.
But pooh to that: The voices are strong, the humor agreeably naughty, and the songs a tasty mix that ranges from rousing little foursquare rockers (for Jordan Klein’s St. Francis, complete with surfer shorts and a small aviary of birds clinging to his hoodie) to soaring, scorching anthems (for Currie’s St. Bernadette and Maria Egler’s Teresa of Avila, ecstatically remembering the “agony and rapture” of their visions) to bluesy brags so swampily accomplished you’ll be thinking, “Hey, that would be perfect with a little harmonica” — just about the time Klein’s strapping St. Ursula pulls a Hohner out of her brassiere.
See it if: You think organized religion could stand a little irreverence. Or if you’ve ever thought Gertrude Stein was unforgivably inefficient about squeezing just four saints into those three acts.
Skip it if: You’re allergic to dusty old relics — or to fun.