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Jack & Jill; In to the Out Sidethe Shop at Fort Fringe, entrance on L street @ 6th, NW

Remaining Performances: Sunday, July 13 @ 4:00 pm Thursday, July 17 @ 6:30 pm Saturday, July 19 @ 3:30 pm Sunday, July 20 @ 12:00 noon

They say: “Jack & Jill: A happy, successful young couple questions the meaning of love in the wake of personal tragedy. In to the Out Side: An absurd comedy, a wordplay play which examines our frames of reference. Not for the faint of art!”

Sheffy’s take: It’s been said that comedy is harder to pull off than drama. Fringe is all about turning theater conventions upside down, and that axiom certainly crumbles in this pair of one acts. Jack and Jill tosses a bunch of catastrophes into a script and hopes to end up with some drama. Alas spotty acting (pathological afflictions: convincing; emotional colloquies: ugh), clichéd plot devices (accidentally hypnotized by a swinging necklace, c’mon!), and over-the-top dialogue (OK, we get it, he has amnesia) force the audience to imagine the drama. Maybe the tension was also rocked by the jams of Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s heavy metal band blasting just outside the theater.

Despite some shortcomings, the sound effects, staging and sets far exceeded my expectations for a Fringe show. The height of drama was the 12 minute scene change between shows (I don’t think the power tools were there for the effect). I entertained myself by reading through the dissertation qua program notes (does the nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill” really have a “denouement”), which was actually rather insightful.

The comedy that followed was really quite clever, echoing of Waiting for Godot, but cheerier. One character (David Crowley) finds himself alone in a cell, when he discovers an impish and lovable tinkerbell (Amal Saade) sharing his small universe. Through playful banter, he coaxes her out of her protective womb and opens her eyes to the world.It’s hard to believe these two shows share a common writer/director, John Sowalsky, since the snappy lines and brilliant acting engaged me from start to finish.

See it if: You still laugh at your dad’s corny puns.

Skip it if: You don’t have time to stay for the second act.