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The Sticking Place The Shop at Fort Fringe

Remaining Performances: Saturday, July 19 @ 9:00 PM Thursday, July 24 @ 8:00 PM Saturday, July 26 @ 3:00 PM

They say: “The DC News career ladder has quite a few rotten rungs! The Sticking Place tells the story of young professionals sucked into this seedy underbelly of the Capital City. Bloodplay, thrill killing, twisted sexual politics, misfits and jerks. If we don’t disgust you, it’s not for lack of trying!”

Trey’s take: Try harder. With the exception of a few glimmers of wit — and what’s probably the best use of chitlins I’ve seen on a DC stage — this Grand Guignol-inspired black comedy feels like the sort of thing a bunch of Saturday Night Live B-listers might whip up for the company holiday party: a decent germ of an idea, underdeveloped and overplayed.

A curtain-raising video montage (quick-cut images of everything from surgery to S&M to humping monkeys) promises an adventurous evening, and as things progress a few tartly phrased silent-movie scene titles serve up a laugh or two.

But mostly, from its context-setting opening monologue (involving the longest TV-news stand-up in recorded history) to its unsurprising final twist (suggested subtitle: “The Revenge of Catherine Tramell”), Molotov Theatre’s tatty little would-be shocker strikes false note after false note. (D.C. bars close at 2 a.m. on weekends? A sex-and-cutting fad among area hipsters is a story an ambitious TV hairdo complains about having to cover?) In a genre whose shocking, titillating pleasures are supposedly rooted in a commitment to realism, that’s kind of a problem.

More disappointing: That a nominally ballsy young cast and creative team thinks it’ll earn a laugh with a bit of accent-mocking in an Asian-takeout scene. And that a Fringe audience doesn’t get the reference when a solo-on-Friday twentysomething, having just been hung up on by said accent, notes this truism: “I’ve officially hit bottom. I’ve been rejected by Yum’s.”

See it if: Your torn-from-the-sensationalized-headlines needs are too urgent for Law & Order: SVU to satisfy.

Skip it if: You’d hate to defile your fond memories of Cherry Red.