A Subjective Guide to Capital Fringe 2012

jump down to alphabetical listjump down to list by category

***Click here for my Fringe review roundup, which simply collects links to all the reviews I can find on every Fringe show.***

Hi!  I’m Brett, and I’m once again writing an amateur, unofficial, one-man’s-opinion guide to the shows at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival.  So that’s “a” guide as in “one dude’s guide, not THE Guide.”

This page is divided into two main sections.  First, some general advice.  Second, a categorization of every Fringe show – alphabetically and then by type.

Some things this guide does NOT do: repeat most of the information you can find and search better on the Capital Fringe show sorter itself or on the individual artists’ homepages.  This guide is intended to help an indecisive or overwhelmed Fringegoer wade through the 134 shows available and make their selections.

GENERAL ADVICE

The number one piece of advice for enjoying Fringe is to treat the whole event like a smorgasbord of possibilities.  If you’re coming with the idea that there are only going to be a couple “good” shows and that your job is to find them, you’re doing it wrong.  If your approach is more “I could see anything, so how do I even pick at all?” that’s more like it.  Even the hot mess shows, that you would never enjoy on their own, take on a certain awesome energy when part of the Fringe.

You’re probably best off picking a certain number of shows you can afford to see (prices can add up) and then filling that roster.

If you’re new to Fringe, you need to buy a $7 button as your general admission, and then $17 individual tickets to each show you want to see.  (Like paying to get in the gate at a carnival and then, once inside, buying individual tickets to each ride.)  Or, buy a pass, which gets you a certain number of tickets plus a button at an overall cost less than the individual price (the savings are listed here).

If you’re seeing only one or two shows, save yourself two bucks and buy your Fringe button now, as it’s discounted to $5 until July 12.  If you’re seeing three shows or more, buy a pass; a 4-ticket pass is only $4 more than three individual tickets plus button.

If you buy a pass, do yourself a favor and keep a couple of your ticket slots open.  Wait and listen for what shows come out of nowhere to start selling out, and then try and jump on those.  Or wait and see which shows are getting good reviews but aren’t selling, and do them and yourself a favor and catch those hidden gems.  You can even just go down to Fringe and ask the ticket counter attendant or a random passerby which shows that day you should see.

Drink lots of water and bring a fan.

CATEGORIES
jump back to top

Below, every single Fringe show is listed and put in two categories.  This is the way I personally think about the shows and decide what to see for myself.  It’s all based on my prior knowlege of the artists and my interpretation of the available press materials, so, as stated, this is very subjective.  If you’re looking at this and wondering why you should even consider my opinion, then I’ll give you some cred: I’ve been a reviewer for City Paper and DCist, and am reviewing with City Paper again this year; and I’ve been working in the theatre in general for years and know some of the people behind these shows.  I’ve also seen over a hundred Fringe shows myself (109, to be exact, of which I’ve reviewed two dozen) and been involved in the production of four, not including this year.

Each show is placed into one “Guarantee of Quality” category, based mostly on “who” is putting it on.

RINGERS are shows that are return engagements or new installments (or “sequels”) of works that were previously very good.  Essentially a total guarantee of quailty. jump to list
ESTABLISHED is for shows that have a specific, established team behind it that has a proven track record for Fringe or Fringey theatre (a team as in more than a happenstance collection of capable artists – a specific company), but the show itself is new.  Even great teams can produce below-good results, so these are only slightly less guaranteed than Ringers. jump to list
PROMISING is for shows that appear to have talented people behind them, but not an established team.  They also probably have a uniquely intruiging or standout concept. jump to list
UNKNOWN is what the word means.  Nothing in Fringe looks “bad” from the get-go, because if any wacky idea can be pulled off, it can be done at the Fringe.  So the “worst” I can guess ahead of time is “unknown.” jump to list

Additionally, each show is placed into one “Type of Show” category, based mostly on “what” is being put on.

FRINGEARRIFIC are shows that scream “Fringe!”  In a field filled with offbeat and strange concepts, these go beyond the pale to jump a very high bar of oddball fantasticality.  In a way, these sound so strange, it doesn’t matter if they “pull it off” because the spectacle alone would be worth the price of admission.  jump to list
WOAH is for shows whose concept inspire the reaction, “Woah, if they can pull it off, that will be amazing.”  Many interactive shows get categorized here.  To compare: while Fringearrific shows are wild, weird and color outside the lines, Woah shows are daring – very daring – but more focused and with a more ‘directed’ energy. jump to list
(UN)FAMILIARS is for shows that are based on existing properties, like Alice in Wonderland or a published script.  They may or may not do something unfamiliar and new with the work. jump to list
STORIES is for shows that appear to be relatively straightforward dramatic presentations.  “Relatively” here means “by the standard of Fringe, compared to a Fringearrific show.”  The vast majority of the shows in all the categories are Fringey, for sure, but “Fringearrific” is, as stated, a very high and twisty-shaped bar. jump to list
ENTERTAINMENTS is for shows that appear to showcase performer’s talents, be it music, clowning, comedy or dance, in a relatively straightforward way. jump to list
TALES is for shows that appear to directly “tell” a tale (unlike Stories, which “show” it), probably via a solo performer telling a true-life saga, again in a relatively straightforward way. jump to list

Any show with an asterisk * on it is one that has a friend or colleague of mine working on it, to be clear about anywhere I might be biased.

And remember – all these categorizations are based only on my personal appraisal, so if I designate “Unknown” a show by a company whose great track record I overlooked, I do apologize.

First, a list of every show alphabetically, with the two categories I sorted it into next to it.
After the alphabetical list is a list by category, with the “Ringers,” “Established,” “Fringearrific,” “Woah” and “(Un)Familiars” categories containing explanations of why I sorted that show there.

~~~
Alphabetical List
jump back to topjump down to list by category

3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella
Faction of Fools* – Ringers Entertainments

A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup – Shoshinz – Ringers Entertainments
A is for Artist – AWoL Productions – Promising Stories

A Night In (Or The Night My Wife Left) – LIV creations LLC – Promising Fringearrific 
A Year of Giving – Rockville Little Theatre – Promising Tales

Aaaaaagh! Murder! – Ad Interim Theatre – Unknown Stories
AARP, the Musical and Harriet 2.0 – Heather Taylor Media – Unknown Tales
Airswimming (Abridged) – Alison Bauer & Julia Smith – Unknown (Un)Familiars 
Alice in Wonderland – Greenbelt Arts Center – Unknown (Un)Familiars
All-Nude College-Girl Revue or Why I Can’t Pass the Vetting – Lisa Faith Phillips – Promising Tales
Almost, Almost Maine – In-House Company – Unknown (Un)Familiars  
Apocalypse Picnic – Orbit Chef – Promising Fringearrific
Arlen and Berlin Occupy the Fringe – In Series – Ringers Entertainments
Bareback Ink – Bob Bartlett* – Established Stories
Barter – Stable Cable Lab Co. – Promising Stories
Beef Encounter – Richmond Productions – Promising Tales
Beertown – dog & pony dc* – Ringers Woah
BFF – Brian Feldman – Established Woah
Blanche: The Bittersweet Life of a Wild Prairie Dame – Onalea Gilbertson – Ringers Tales
Breaking Up with ED: Survivors Speak Out on Eating Disorders – Angela Pirko – Promising Tales
Burlesque + Belly Laughs – Burlesque + Belly Laughs* – Established Fringearrific
Cabaret XXX: Love the One You’re With – Pinky Swear Productions*** –
I AM INVOLVED IN THIS SHOW. Ringers Entertainments

Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical Capital Anthropological, Inquisitorial Probe
Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical – Established Woah

Children in the Mist: A Horror Opera
innovativi Riverbend Opera Company – Promising
(Un)Familiars
Colony – Kelly Bond and Melissa Krodman – Established Fringearrific
Cupcake Cabaret: A Brief History of Bad Women – 4 & 9 Productions* – Established Entertainments
DADA Returns! (20th Anniversary Edition)
Legitimate Stage/Fraudulent Productions – Unknown DADA

Daydreams – Call Me Crazy Dancers – Promising Entertainments
DC Trash – Ron Litman – Promising Woah
Dead Man’s Mambo – OMBELICO Mask Ensemble – Established Entertainments
Delusions of Grandeur – Clown Cabaret* – Established Entertainments
Despertar – Avalanche Theatre Company* – Established Stories
Discharged – Troll Manor – Unknown Tales
Domino’s Pizza Saved My Life – Dylan Fresco – Ringers Tales
Donna Has A Boyfriend: A Collection of Works – darlingdance company – Promising Entertainments
Dr. Science’s Science-time Science-va-ganza!
Adam Ruben and Chuck Na – Established Fringearrific
Dreams in the Arms of the Binding Lady – Izumi Ashizawa Performance – Established Woah
ECCE – A.J. Rhodes Entertainment – Promising (Un)Familiars
Fallen Angels – Silver Finch – Promising (Un)Familiars
Flight of Fancy (A Steampunk Ballet) – MOVEius Dance – Promising Woah
Girls Who Think They’re Hot – Lumina Studio Theatre – Unknown Fringearrific
Gorgeous Raptors – The Disreputables* – Established (Un)Familiars
Hamlet – We Happy Few Productions – Promising (Un)Familiars
Harmony – Premiere Theatre – Unknown Stories
He HEE! or “What It’s Not Glee?” – The Comedy Academy, Inc. – Promising Stories
He Loved the Soft Porn of the City – Moderno Trio – Promising Woah
Hysterical Blindness – Chantal Martineau* – Promising Tales
I Heart Hummels – LiveArt* – Promising Stories
iConfess – Washington Improv Theater* – Ringers Entertainments
Imagination Meltdown Adventure – Pointless Theatre Co.* – Established Fringearrific  
In the Company of deSade – King’s Players – Unknown (Un)Familiars
In This Economy – John Krizel – Unknown Stories
Inanimate Thoughts -MashUp Contemporary Dance Co. – Promising Entertainments
James Judd’s Funny Stories – James Judd – Promising Tales
Jesus le MOMO – JR Foley & Hilary Kacser, with Michael Kelly* – Promising Stories
Jilly Manilly – Scout Records – ?!? Fringearrific
Lady Luck is a Whore – Leanne Linsky – Promising Tales
Language from the Land – Dance Exchange – Promising Entertainments
LapBand Texas – LaGoDi – Established Fringearrific
Madame: Helena Rubinstein in America – fourpence theatre – Promising Stories
Madwoman in the Attic: Evening of Shorts – Actors Repertory Theatre – Promising (Un)Familiars
Making Love Legal – Carl’s Company – Unknown Stories
McGoddess – Vijai Nathan – Established Tales
Me and the Devil Blues – Flying V* – Established Stories
Medieval Story Land – Red Knight Productions – Promising Fringearrific
Mein Kampf – Eine Komedie – Scena Theatre – Established (Un)Familiars
Men Don’t Listen to Naked Women – MO2 Productions – Unknown Tales
Mindset – Off the Wall Theatre Company – Unknown Fringearrific
Mitzi’s Abortion – The Washington Rogues* – Established (Un)Familiars
My Princess Bride – City Artistic Partnerships* – Established (Un)Familiars
Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream
Beat on the Bard Theatre Company – Unknown (Un)Familiars

Nightmerica – Theatre du Jour – Promising Woah
No Exit – OUR Theatre – Unknown (Un)Familiars
OCCUPY This! Tales of an Accidental Activist – Reverend Nuge – Established Tales
Paul Gonsalves On The Road – Lena Productions – Promising Tales
Pericles: Shakespeare vs. Wilkins – The Rude Mechanicals – Unknown (Un)Familiars
Planet Egg – Puppet Cinema – Ringers Fringearrific
President Harding is a Rock Star – The Landless Theatre Company* – Ringers Stories
Pushing Boundaries – Ellouise Schoettler – Ringer Tales
R.U.X. (Rockwell’s Universal seXbots) – Surly Robot Presents* – Promising Stories
Raising Cane: A Family Portrait – Grain of Sand Theatre – Promising Stories
Redial – DC Dogs – Promising Stories
Right to Remain… The Life and Mind of Tupac Shakur – WHAT IF WORKS – Unknown Woah
Rightful Masters – Mark Whitney – Established Woah
Rolling By – Patchwork Productions – Unknown Stories
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – Infinite Jest – Promising (Un)Familiars
Sacred and Scared Get the Same Score in Scrabble – Charles Shafer – Unknown Tales
Shock/Trauma – Unstrung Harpist Productions – Promising Stories
SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL – Tasty Monster Productions – Promising Tales
Souls – Mayzsoul – Promising Woah
Stone Age Recreation: An Operetta – The Apron Theatre Co. – Promising Woah
Stopgap – Field Trip Theatre* – Promising Stories
Superhero Celebrity Rehab: The Musical – William Segal & Brendan Snow – Promising Stories
Sweet Painted Lady – Artists’ Initiative – Promising Stories
Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay – Nu Sass Productions – Established Stories  
The Brontes – Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue – Established Entertainments
The Circle – banished? productions – Established Woah
The City of God – A New Opera – NoteTaker Productions – Promising Woah
The Cloudism Project – Borealis Theatre* – Ringer… sort of   Fringearrific
The Comedy of Mirrors – Pallas Theatre Collective – Established (Un)Familiars
The Confines of Flattery – Triptych Productions – Promising (Un)Familiars
The Diamond Star Project – Catherine Asaro – Promising Woah
The Every Fringe Show You Want To See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show
The Just Barely a Theatre Company Theatre Company – Promising Fringearrific

The Extermination Machine – SeeNoSun OnStage – Promising Stories
the freshman 15/life in transition – Homegrown Theatre – Unknown Tales
The Goddess Diaries – Befana Factory – Promising Tales
The Hair Chronicles – 3 Girls and a Dog – Unknown Stories
The Interview – Dead Cat Productions – Unknown Stories
The Last Flapper – The Red Door Theatre Company – Unknown Tales
The Mercy Seat – Capital City Players of Washington, DC – Unknown (Un)Familiars
The New and Improved Stages of Grief – Mary Carpenter – Promising Tales
The Nita and Zita Show – Dance Without Borders – Unknown Entertainments
The Outcasts of Poker Flat: A Chamber Opera – Andrew Earle Simpson – Promising (Un)Familiars
The Play About the Coach – Paden Fallis – Ringers Stories
The Post Reality Show: Talk Media! – Randall Packer – Established Woah
The Pundit – John Feffer* – Established Tales
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Faruq Hussein-Bey – Unknown Stories
The Underdeveloped and Overexposed Life and Death of Deena Domino
Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting – Established Stories

The Webcam Play – Junesong Arts – Promising Woah
Thomas is Titanic – Thomas Choinacky – Promising (Un)Familiars
Thumbs Up! – Michael Venske Presents – Promising Tales
Tight Assets – AlulA Ensemble – Promising Entertainments
Trial by Jury – Victorian Lyric Opera Company – Established (Un)Familiars
We Tiresias – Stephen Spotswood* – Established Stories
Where in the World? The Untold Story of Camilla Sanfrancisco
CrimeTime Productions – Promising (Un)Familiars

Why So Serious? – Trevor Joyner – Unknown Tales
Wild Night: A Choose Your Own Burlesque Adventure – Tilted Torch – Established Fringearrific
Will Rogers’ U.S.A. – Kaleidoscope Theatre Company – Promising Tales
Young Republicans – Ad Hoc Players – Unknown Stories
Zero Tolerance: Sex, Math and Seizures – Barbara Selfridge – Unknown Tales

~
Category List
The “Guarantee of Quailty” categories (Ringer, Established, Promising, Unknown) followed by the “Type of Show” categories (Fringearrific, Woah, (Un)Familliars, Stories, Entertainments, Tales).

jump back to topjump back to description of categoriesjump back to alphabetical list
~
BUT FIRST… BONUS LISTINGS!!!

The Burlesque Shows!
Burlesque + Belly Laughs – Burlesque + Belly Laughs*
Cupcake Cabaret: A Brief History of Bad Women – 4 & 9 Productions*
Wild Night: A Choose Your Own Burlesque Adventure – Tilted Torch

The “Occupy Movement” Shows!
Arlen and Berlin Occupy the Fringe – In Series
OCCUPY This! Tales of an Accidental Activist – Reverend Nuge
Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay – Nu Sass Productions

The Commedia dell’arte and Clown Shows!
3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella – Faction of Fools*
A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup – Shoshinz
Dead Man’s Mambo – OMBELICO Mask Ensemble
Delusions of Grandeur – Clown Cabaret*
Tight Assets – AlulA Ensemble

The Shakespeare Shows!
Hamlet – We Happy Few Productions
Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream – Beat on the Bard Theatre Company
Pericles: Shakespeare vs. Wilkins – The Rude Mechanicals
The Comedy of Mirrors – Pallas Theatre Collective

The Newly Written Opera Shows!
Children in the Mist: A Horror Opera – innovativi Riverbend Opera Company
Fallen Angels – Silver Finch
Stone Age Recreation: An Operetta – The Apron Theatre Co.
The City of God – A New Opera – NoteTaker Productions
The Outcasts of Poker Flat: A Chamber Opera – Andrew Earle Simpson

The WTF, Is That Theatre? Shows!
BFF – Brian Feldman
The Circle – banished? productions
The Cloudism Project – Borealis Theatre*
The Post Reality Show: Talk Media! – Randall Packer


~
RINGERS jump to explanation

3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella – Faction of Fools*
In its third year, Faction of Fools’ Fool for All is a veritable Old Faithful of classic-styled Fringe comedy, drawing from a massive pool of DC talent for their rotating program.

A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup – Shoshinz
This show has apparently gotten a number of awards and it has traveled Fringe festivals all the way from its home in Japan to Canada.

Arlen and Berlin Occupy the Fringe – In Series
The In Series has a record of quailty here in DC, and is an updated version of a show that got good reviews, one of which put it succinctly: “Best of all, it features the music of Harold Arlen and Irving Berlin.”

Beertown – dog & pony dc*
As Ringer a Ringer as they come, this well-reviewed return interactive show from Fringe stars dog & pony was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for best new play. It’d be unfair to call it Fringearrific, too.

Blanche: The Bittersweet Life of a Wild Prairie Dame – Onalea Gilbertson
A well-received show that showcased Off-Broadway by a well-reviewed performer.  Go to the website and listen to the music to decide for yourself.

Cabaret XXX: Love the One You’re With – Pinky Swear Productions*** – I AM INVOLVED IN THIS SHOW.
But I feel comfortably unbiased calling it a Ringer because it’s the sequel to last year’s Cabaret XXX, which took the Best Musical audience award.

Domino’s Pizza Saved My Life – Dylan Fresco
Won awards and accolades in its previous Fringe performances, and the performer has had several other hit Fringe solo shows.

iConfess – Washington Improv Theater*
The next edition in good ol’ reliable WIT’s iMusical series of improvised musicals.

Planet Egg – Puppet Cinema
Got RAPTUROUS reviews previously.  Just go look at their website, fer serious.

President Harding is a Rock Star – The Landless Theatre Company*
A remount of a well-received and timely show by frequent Fringe stars Landless Theatre Co.  DISCLAIMER: I was involved in the original production of this.

Pushing Boundaries – Ellouise Schoettler
Received glowing reviews in its previous Fringe iteration.

The Cloudism Project – Borealis Theatre*
Sort of… This new edition of the previously-produced interactive performance piece received mixed reviews all along the lines of  “if this is your thing, you’ll love it.”  So go read the reviews and understand why this show was frequently, and favorably, compared to children’s daycare.

The Play About the Coach – Paden Fallis
Great reviews, a lauded performer, a fantastic and intriguing concept.


~
ESTABLISHED jump to explanation

Bareback Ink – Bob Bartlett*
As a director, Bob has helmed numerous well-received shows including The Nina Variations at Fringe 2010, and he’s got a blooming resume as a playwright as well.

BFF – Brian Feldman
Mr. Feldman appears to have lots of experience as a performance artist.  Plus, he looks like a swell guy, and in a show where you get to be his friend for two hours, that seems pretty Establishing to me.

Burlesque + Belly Laughs – Burlesque + Belly Laughs*
Both the improv folks behind this (from Washington Improv Theater) and the burlesque performers have got experience under their belts (pun intended for the burlesque performers).

Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical Capital Anthropological, Inquisitorial Probe – Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical
I almost wanted to put this as a Ringer given how well-oiled the Cecily and Gwendolyn act seems to be given multiple previous Fringe successes, but technically this is new enough of a show that I slotted it into ‘just’ Established.

Colony – Kelly Bond and Melissa Krodman
Bond’s previous Fringe show Elephant (which I unhappily missed) was recognized as the work of someone who has a vision, and she’s got varied cred elsewhere.

Cupcake Cabaret: A Brief History of Bad Women – 4 & 9 Productions*
Sometimes there’s not much to say about a group being Established except that they’ve done plenty of good stuff before, and what else do you need to say?

Dead Man’s Mambo – OMBELICO Mask Ensemble
The Ensemble appears to have oodles of the kind of high-class training that leads to effortless skill in the low art of clowning and commedia.

Delusions of Grandeur – Clown Cabaret*
Clown Cabaret’s been holding it down successfully with their monthly show for a while now, and, like OMBELICO above, is oodled with funny-bone-tickling knowhow.

Dreams in the Arms of the Binding Lady – Izumi Ashizawa Performance
Ashizawa has staged well-reviwed world tours of her visionary works and won last year’s Capital Fringe Director’s Award.

Gorgeous Raptors – The Disreputables*
I’ll beat everyone else to it (maybe): the Disreputables are getting quite a reputation.  …For being good.  Last year’s Boston Marriage was a success.

Imagination Meltdown Adventure – Pointless Theatre Co.*
Another one of those young companies that has been racking up accolades; they won Best Experimental in the Fringe audience awards twice previously.

LapBand Texas – LaGoDi
In this case “Established” means “Established that they are fearlessly weird and reliably out there.”

McGoddess – Vijai Nathan
Nathan’s earned widespread applause for her previous Fringe shows here and elsewhere.

Me and the Devil Blues – Flying V*
Last year’s Incurable was much-talked about, and the talents behind Flying V are… well, talented.

Mein Kampf – Eine Komedie – Scena Theatre
Scena Theatre is in itself essentially a ringer, and the play and playwright have a notable history, so only the fact that this is a new production keeps it out of the Ringer category.

Mitzi’s Abortion – The Washington Rogues*
Three successful Fringe productions under their belt including the fantastic (and later remounted-due-to-demand) 2010 show Eight = Established.

My Princess Bride – City Artistic Partnerships*
Joe Brack is a consummate performer whose annual Santaland Diaries proves he can command the stage alone.  Plus, you know, The Princess Bride.

OCCUPY This! Tales of an Accidental Activist – Reverend Nuge
Sometimes there’s not much to say about a performer being Established except that they’ve done plenty of good stuff before, and what else do you need to say?

Rightful Masters – Mark Whitney
Whitney’s one of those performers who just seems to travel from performance location to location in order to collect effusive praise from all over.

Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay – Nu Sass Productions
Nu Sass won last year’s Best Comedy with Priscilla Dreams the Answer amongst other good works.

The Brontes – Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue
Another case of “I almost made this a Ringer” because Dizzy Miss Lizzie is Fringe royalty with their reliably rocking series of shows.  But, again, technically it’s a new one, so it gets ‘only’ Established.

The Circle – banished? productions
If Dizzy Miss Lizzie is Fringe royalty, banished? is the royal jester.  Their experimental and interactives Tactile shows set the bar for audience engagement at two Fringes past.

The Comedy of Mirrors – Pallas Theatre Collective
Okay, so frankly, this one was on the edge for me between “Promising” and “Established,” because the company seems to have previously done just one (well-received) show, in last year’s Fringe.  But the company members have serious talent and cred, and they seem to have a definite collective spirit, and… well, anyways, it would be cruel to ‘downgrade’ them to ‘just Promising’ after I placed them here.  Consider it a challenge to them to live up to it?

The Post Reality Show: Talk Media! – Randall Packer
Wikipedia page.

The Pundit – John Feffer*
Three Fringe hits after his out-of-nowhere debut, Feffer is established as Fringe-time required viewing.  But once again, new show, so ‘only’ Established.

Trial by Jury – Victorian Lyric Opera Company
It’s Gilbet and Sullivan, and the company certainly knows their way around a G&S show.

We Tiresias – Stephen Spotswood*
Spotswood has a not-so-secret reputation as one of the most skilled playwrights in the region, helped along by the success of, among other past works, last year’s Sisters of Ellery Hollow.

Wild Night: A Choose Your Own Burlesque Adventure – Tilted Torch
The company staged last year’s Illuminopolis, establishing they know their way around a circus and burlesque act.


~
?!?
Jilly Manilly – Scout Records
So… there’s clearly a lot of talent behind this, including a functioning pop group… but the whole thing seems like such a crazy and potentially quixotic undertaking that to even guess at what that talent adds up to seems not only futile, but besides the point.

~
PROMISING jump to explanation

A is for Artist – AWoL Productions
A Night In (Or The Night My Wife Left) – LIV creations LLC
A Year of Giving – Rockville Little Theatre
All-Nude College-Girl Revue or Why I Can’t Pass the Vetting – Lisa Faith Phillips
Apocalypse Picnic – Orbit Chef
Barter – Stable Cable Lab Co.
Beef Encounter – Richmond Productions
Breaking Up with ED: Survivors Speak Out on Eating Disorders – Angela Pirko
Children in the Mist: A Horror Opera – innovativi Riverbend Opera Company
DC Trash – Ron Litman
Donna Has A Boyfriend: A Collection of Works – darlingdance company
ECCE – A.J. Rhodes Entertainment
Fallen Angels – Silver Finch
Flight of Fancy (A Steampunk Ballet) – MOVEius Dance
Hamlet – We Happy Few Productions
He HEE! or “What It’s Not Glee?” – The Comedy Academy, Inc.
He Loved the Soft Porn of the City – Moderno Trio
Hysterical Blindness – Chantal Martineau*
I Heart Hummels – LiveArt*
Inanimate Thoughts -MashUp Contemporary Dance Co.
James Judd’s Funny Stories – James Judd
Jesus le MOMO – JR Foley & Hilary Kacser, with Michael Kelly*
Lady Luck is a Whore – Leanne Linsky
Language from the Land – Dance Exchange
Madame: Helena Rubinstein in America – fourpence theatre
Madwoman in the Attic: Evening of Shorts – Actors Repertory Theatre
Medieval Story Land – Red Knight Productions
Nightmerica – Theatre du Jour
Paul Gonsalves On The Road – Lena Productions
R.U.X. (Rockwell’s Universal seXbots) – Surly Robot Presents*
Raising Cane: A Family Portrait – Grain of Sand Theatre
Redial – DC Dogs
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – Infinite Jest
Shock/Trauma – Unstrung Harpist Productions
SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL – Tasty Monster Productions
Souls – Mayzsoul
Stone Age Recreation: An Operetta – The Apron Theatre Co.
Stopgap – Field Trip Theatre*
Superhero Celebrity Rehab: The Musical – William Segal & Brendan Snow
Sweet Painted Lady – Artists’ Initiative
The City of God – A New Opera – NoteTaker Productions
The Confines of Flattery – Triptych Productions
The Diamond Star Project – Catherine Asaro
The Every Fringe Show You Want To See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show – The Just Barely a Theatre Company Theatre Company
The Extermination Machine – SeeNoSun OnStage
The Goddess Diaries – Befana Factory
The New and Improved Stages of Grief – Mary Carpenter
The Outcasts of Poker Flat: A Chamber Opera – Andrew Earle Simpson
The Webcam Play – Junesong Arts
Thomas is Titanic – Thomas Choinacky
Thumbs Up! – Michael Venske Presents
Tight Assets – AlulA Ensemble
Where in the World? The Untold Story of Camilla Sanfrancisco – CrimeTime Productions
Will Rogers’ U.S.A. – Kaleidoscope Theatre Company


~
UNKNOWN jump to explanation

Aaaaaagh! Murder! – Ad Interim Theatre
AARP, the Musical and Harriet 2.0 – Heather Taylor Media
Airswimming (Abridged) – Alison Bauer & Julia Smith
Alice in Wonderland – Greenbelt Arts Center
Almost, Almost Maine – In-House Company
DADA Returns! (20th Anniversary Edition) – Legitimate Stage/Fraudulent Productions
Discharged – Troll Manor
Girls Who Think They’re Hot – Lumina Studio Theatre
Harmony – Premiere Theatre
In the Company of deSade – King’s Players
In This Economy – John Krizel
Making Love Legal – Carl’s Company
Men Don’t Listen to Naked Women – MO2 Productions
Mindset – Off the Wall Theatre Company
Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream – Beat on the Bard Theatre Company
No Exit – OUR Theatre
Pericles: Shakespeare vs. Wilkins – The Rude Mechanicals
Right to Remain… The Life and Mind of Tupac Shakur – WHAT IF WORKS
Rolling By – Patchwork Productions
Sacred and Scared Get the Same Score in Scrabble – Charles Shafer
the freshman 15/life in transition – Homegrown Theatre
The Hair Chronicles – 3 Girls and a Dog
The Interview – Dead Cat Productions
The Last Flapper – The Red Door Theatre Company
The Mercy Seat – Capital City Players of Washington, DC
The Nita and Zita Show – Dance Without Borders
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Faruq Hussein-Bey
Why So Serious? – Trevor Joyner
Young Republicans – Ad Hoc Players
Zero Tolerance: Sex, Math and Seizures – Barbara Selfridge

~
~
~
FRINGEARRIFIC jump to explanation

A Night In (Or The Night My Wife Left) – LIV creations LLC
Getting high with puppets!  Aspects of the psyche!  Live video that interacts with the cast!  Divorce!

Apocalypse Picnic – Orbit Chef
Apocalypse!  Cockroaches!  Jesus and Superman!  Multiple playwrights!

Burlesque + Belly Laughs – Burlesque + Belly Laughs*
Burlesque!  Improv!  …Burlesque!  Improv!

Colony – Kelly Bond and Melissa Krodman
Okay, so, if you can’t understand what the hell it’s gonna be based on the description (“body-based experimental movement” so… dance?), it might be Fringearrific. It helps knowing that Kelly Bond’s well-received prior show, Elephant, was definitely Fringearrific.

Dr. Science’s Science-time Science-va-ganza! – Adam Ruben and Chuck Na
Science!  Parody!  Science!  Disaster!

Girls Who Think They’re Hot – Lumina Studio Theatre
Immense, irreverent, irreproachable theatre machine Lumina Studio Theatre is Fringe all year round. Plus, it’s some sort of comedy thing about surrealism.

Imagination Meltdown Adventure – Pointless Theatre Co.*
Puppets!  Reality warping!  Fighting!  Adventure!

Jilly Manilly – Scout Records
It’s not every play that claims to invent a new genre. This “pop music play” features original R&B music… performed by an actual pop group… that, within the story, is accused of being a fake pop group a la Milli Vanilli.  Plus drag queens!

LapBand Texas – LaGoDi
The LaGoDi tribe!  Burlesque!  Food!  False and/or real nudity and/or body modifications!

Medieval Story Land – Red Knight Productions
Elves!  Parody!  Adventure!  A million characters!

Mindset – Off the Wall Theatre Company
Rock opera!  Dance!  Experimental life-of-the-artist drama!  A theatre company that calls itself Off the Wall!

Planet Egg – Puppet Cinema
Vegetable puppets!  Science fiction!  Silent movie “performed and filmed live”!  WTF!

The Cloudism Project – Borealis Theatre*
Odd behavior!  Audience-driven theatre!  Hula hoops!  Human behavior!

The Every Fringe Show You Want To See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show – The Just Barely a Theatre Company Theatre Company
What is says.

Wild Night: A Choose Your Own Burlesque Adventure – Tilted Torch
Burlesque!  Audience choice!  Death!  Audience chooses burlesque or death!


~
WOAH jump to explanation

Beertown – dog & pony dc*
In a way, this doesn’t need to be a “Woah” because we already know this hit production does ‘pull it off.’  Interactive story, time capsules, mixed performance styles, the story of a small town in America.

BFF – Brian Feldman
WHAT.  Two hours alone with performance artist Feldman.  That’s a performance which consists entirely of whatever happens between you – just you – and Feldman.

Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical Capital Anthropological, Inquisitorial Probe – Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical
Cecily and Gwendolyn have shown before that they can turn an audience-driven antrophological visit from time-traveling scientists into a great show, but their act will always be a high-wire one.

DC Trash – Ron Litman
A one-man show about DC – and how rare is that in this town? – told from the perspective of, it seems, a garbage collector – which is even rarer – done at least partially as a musical? – utterly unique.  Read this guy’s story (along with the perfomers of BFF and A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup) in the Post.

Dreams in the Arms of the Binding Lady – Izumi Ashizawa Performance
Highly skilled Noh and masks and experimental weirdness.  I would call it Fringearrific except if they don’t pull it off (which, given their credentials, seems unlikely) it would probably not be very watchable.

Flight of Fancy (A Steampunk Ballet) – MOVEius Dance
A… steampunk… ballet.

He Loved the Soft Porn of the City – Moderno Trio
Title misleading.  The actual thing is a video-drama-music-opera performance or something by a highly skilled musical trio performing the work of late composer Skovgaard Danielson.

Nightmerica – Theatre du Jour
“A multi-media spectacle” about America.

Right to Remain… The Life and Mind of Tupac Shakur – WHAT IF WORKS
A solo (non-holographic) show about Tupac.  What more do you need to know?

Rightful Masters – Mark Whitney
Mark Whitney is an acknowledged master performer.  This show, however… woah.  A polemic?  In DC?  If he can pull it off, well…

Souls – Mayzsoul
A metaphysical dance narrative about resurrection or something… the kind of thing that’s either pretentious or amazing.  Hence, “Woah.”

Stone Age Recreation: An Operetta – The Apron Theatre Co.
An opera about cavemen.

The Circle – banished? productions
banished? is apparently outdoing their previous interactive-strange theatrical happenings with this displaced self-guided audio tour.

The City of God – A New Opera – NoteTaker Productions
An opera about David Koresh.

The Diamond Star Project – Catherine Asaro
A rock musical thing based on a science-fiction story starring the sci-fi story’s award-winning author.

The Post Reality Show: Talk Media! – Randall Packer
Okay.  So.  Packer is a notable performance artist, so there’s no way of knowing whether the crazy-conspiracy theorist website and concept is for reals for reals or whether it’s… a concept.  Either way, this is a play that consists of, it seems, listening to an “underground” radio show being broadcast from somewhere else.  Woah, okay.

The Webcam Play – Junesong Arts
In this case, the nudity suggests not Fringe-y audience-baiting but a potential willingness to take this story about two people connecting over the Internet to a real honest/sexy/dark/something-like-that place.  If they can pull it off.


~
(UN)FAMILIARS jump to explanation

Airswimming (Abridged) – Alison Bauer & Julia Smith
The first produced play by notable British playwright Charlotte Jones. It has a Wikipedia page!

Alice in Wonderland – Greenbelt Arts Center
The classic children’s acid trip book is, unsurprisingly, frequently tackled at Fringe festivals.

Almost, Almost Maine – In-House Company
Almost, Maine is a widely-produced modern classic by John Cariani; the extra “almost” seems to be there because some of the short plays that make up the piece will be shown in film form.

Children in the Mist: A Horror Opera – innovativi Riverbend Opera Company
A fascinating one-dollar-optioning program by Stephen King led to this opera version of King’s short story that was also made into the feature film “The Mist.”

DADA Returns! (20th Anniversary Edition) – Legitimate Stage/Fraudulent Productions
DADA DADA Tristan Tzara DADA

ECCE – A.J. Rhodes Entertainment
A new play based on, of all things, the Bible, telling the Cruxcifixion story from Pilate’s POV.

Fallen Angels – Silver Finch
Another based on Bible and religious stories, but this a trio of chamber operas.

Gorgeous Raptors – The Disreputables*
If it’s not familiar, it should be, being an established play by Lucy Alibar of recent Beasts of the Southern Wild fame.

Hamlet – We Happy Few Productions
Something about a Danish prince, except pared down and more violent.  Originally by some English fellow.

In the Company of deSade – King’s Players
“Familiarity” here depends on your familiarity with the Marquis deSade’s written works, which you may or may not admit to. His “Philosophy in the Bedroom” is a play within this play.

Madwoman in the Attic: Evening of Shorts – Actors Repertory Theatre
Short plays by renowned playwright Theresa Rebeck (creator of TV show Smash).

Mein Kampf – Eine Komedie – Scena Theatre
Believe it or not, Mein Kampf – Eine Komodie is not an (Un)Familiar because it’s named after Hitler’s infamous tract, but because the play itself is by world-class playwright George Tabori.

Mitzi’s Abortion – The Washington Rogues*
Another case of “if it’s not familiar, it should be” – a notable and established play from an accomplished playwright Elizabeth Heffron.

My Princess Bride – City Artistic Partnerships*
One guy takes on the classic novel/movie.  You know, “inconceivable!”

Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream – Beat on the Bard Theatre Company
Something about lovers and elves in the woods and a donkey-head man, except with punk music.   Originally by some English fellow.

No Exit – OUR Theatre
The classic existential nightmare by Sartre.

Pericles: Shakespeare vs. Wilkins – The Rude Mechanicals
Something about… uh… well no one’s really familiar with this one, and this production asks “why.”  Originally by some English fellow.  And also by another English fellow.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – Infinite Jest
Tom Stoppard’s absurdist masterpiece that plays in and around and behind Hamlet, still playing strong at Fringes forty-five years after it originally debuted at the original Edinburgh Fringe.

The Comedy of Mirrors – Pallas Theatre Collective
Something about two sets of mistaken twins, except with both twins played by the same actors.   Originally by some English fellow.

The Confines of Flattery – Triptych Productions
Three thematically connected short pieces by established folks such as Moliere.

The Mercy Seat – Capital City Players of Washington, DC
The hit 9/11 play by Neil LaBute.

The Outcasts of Poker Flat: A Chamber Opera – Andrew Earle Simpson
According to the Wikipedia page, not the first time Bret Harte’s classic short story has been operafied.

Thomas is Titanic – Thomas Choinacky
One guy takes on the… classic?… movie.  You know, “I’m king of the world!”

Trial by Jury – Victorian Lyric Opera Company
Gilbert and Sullivan by some Gilbert and Sullivan experts.

Where in the World? The Untold Story of Camilla Sanfrancisco – CrimeTime Productions
Whether or not you can tell what this is instantly from the title depends on how old you are.


~
STORIES jump to explanation

A is for Artist – AWoL Productions
Aaaaaagh! Murder! – Ad Interim Theatre
Bareback Ink – Bob Bartlett*
Barter – Stable Cable Lab Co.
Despertar – Avalanche Theatre Company*
Harmony – Premiere Theatre
He HEE! or “What It’s Not Glee?” – The Comedy Academy, Inc.
I Heart Hummels – LiveArt*
In This Economy – John Krizel
Jesus le MOMO – JR Foley & Hilary Kacser, with Michael Kelly*
Madame: Helena Rubinstein in America – fourpence theatre
Making Love Legal – Carl’s Company
Me and the Devil Blues – Flying V*
President Harding is a Rock Star – The Landless Theatre Company*
R.U.X. (Rockwell’s Universal seXbots) – Surly Robot Presents*
Raising Cane: A Family Portrait – Grain of Sand Theatre
Redial – DC Dogs
Rolling By – Patchwork Productions
Shock/Trauma – Unstrung Harpist Productions
Stopgap – Field Trip Theatre
Superhero Celebrity Rehab: The Musical – William Segal & Brendan Snow
Sweet Painted Lady – Artists’ Initiative
Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay – Nu Sass Productions
The Extermination Machine – SeeNoSun OnStage
The Hair Chronicles – 3 Girls and a Dog
The Interview – Dead Cat Productions
The Play About the Coach – Paden Fallis
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Faruq Hussein-Bey
The Underdeveloped and Overexposed Life and Death of Deena Domino – Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting
We Tiresias – Stephen Spotswood*
Young Republicans – Ad Hoc Players


~
ENTERTAINMENTS jump to explanation

3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella – Faction of Fools*
A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup – Shoshinz
Arlen and Berlin Occupy the Fringe – In Series
Cabaret XXX: Love the One You’re With – Pinky Swear Productions***
Cupcake Cabaret: A Brief History of Bad Women – 4 & 9 Productions*
Dead Man’s Mambo – OMBELICO Mask Ensemble
Delusions of Grandeur – Clown Cabaret*
Donna Has A Boyfriend: A Collection of Works – darlingdance company
iConfess – Washington Improv Theater*
Inanimate Thoughts -MashUp Contemporary Dance Co.
Language from the Land – Dance Exchange
The Brontes – Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue
The Nita and Zita Show – Dance Without Borders
Tight Assets – AlulA Ensemble


~
TALES jump to explanation

A Year of Giving – Rockville Little Theatre
AARP, the Musical and Harriet 2.0 – Heather Taylor Media
All-Nude College-Girl Revue or Why I Can’t Pass the Vetting – Lisa Faith Phillips
Beef Encounter – Richmond Productions
Blanche: The Bittersweet Life of a Wild Prairie Dame – Onalea Gilbertson
Breaking Up with ED: Survivors Speak Out on Eating Disorders – Angela Pirko
Discharged – Troll Manor
Domino’s Pizza Saved My Life – Dylan Fresco
Hysterical Blindness – Chantal Martineau*
James Judd’s Funny Stories – James Judd
Lady Luck is a Whore – Leanne Linsky
McGoddess – Vijai Nathan
Men Don’t Listen to Naked Women – MO2 Productions
OCCUPY This! Tales of an Accidental Activist – Reverend Nuge
Paul Gonsalves On The Road – Lena Productions
Pushing Boundaries – Ellouise Schoettler
Sacred and Scared Get the Same Score in Scrabble – Charles Shafer
SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL – Tasty Monster Productions
the freshman 15/life in transition – Homegrown Theatre
The Goddess Diaries – Befana Factory
The Last Flapper – The Red Door Theatre Company
The New and Improved Stages of Grief – Mary Carpenter
The Pundit – John Feffer*
Thumbs Up! – Michael Venske Presents
Why So Serious? – Trevor Joyner
Will Rogers’ U.S.A. – Kaleidoscope Theatre Company
Zero Tolerance: Sex, Math and Seizures – Barbara Selfridge

~
~
~
jump back to topjump back to alphabetical listjump back to list by category

Thanks for reading, I hope this has been helpful.  I welcome any comments, responses, concurrences, arguments, complaints, debates, questions, requests for recommendations, or corrections.  In particular, I would be delighted to know which specific shows you may have been inspired to attend based upon this guide.

Advertisements

15 comments

  1. Maggie · · Reply

    What a great guide! I’m an actress in Lapband, TX, and this is a great way to plot out what else I may be able to see.

    Thanks a million!

    1. Thanks! I am super curious about the LaGoDi tribe and glad y’all keep bringin’ the Fringe.

  2. modernotrio · · Reply

    Hey babelwright thanks for the write up – PROMISING and WOAH! I like it. The music is by Moderno Trio based on our friendship and correspondences with Skovgaard. If people want to learn more, visit ModernTrio.com/he-loved-the-music. See you at #CapFringe12 have a beautiful day!

  3. Carol Campbell · · Reply

    Babelwright – thanks so much for listing The Goddess Diaries as promising! Please come see it!

  4. […] The local combined metropolitan area, when you include DC, Baltimore and the full scope of the region, is the fourth-largest in the country with 8.7 million people.  There are something like 200 theatre companies in the area, especially when you count in the number of new, small and fringe companies that are putting in an appearance or debut at this year’s Fringe. […]

  5. […] Severus Snape and Rupert Giles. This is his third year with Fringe & Purge. You can find his Subjective Guide to Capital Fringe 2012 at his blog, babelwright, which pairs nicely with the subjective coverage he’ll be once again […]

  6. […] at the Capital Fringe Festival, I have heard, this year and in years past, plenty of people scoff at the theatrical […]

  7. Hey! Thanks for putting our show, A Year of Giving, in the “Promising” category. I’m sure you and I met when The NRIs played with your band (I’m the violinist). Let me know if you end up seeing it!

  8. […] this is encouraged to recall I already took a tour through crazytown, putting together my subjective Fringe guide, so all I’ll be doing is employing my quick-typing skills to throw a bunch of links in before […]

  9. Juliet · · Reply

    Thanks so much! I am just in DC for the week, I wish I had found this guide on my first day! I really appreciate your work!!

    1. You’re welcome!

  10. […] everyone who came, read, discussed, and passed around my Subjective Fringe Guide and Fringe Review […]

  11. […] A Subjective Guide to Capital Fringe 2012 (with nearly one thousand views, more than twice as many as any other post) 2) Capital Fringe 2012 […]

  12. Excellent blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go
    for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Thank you!

    1. Thank you, and I’m flattered to be asked for advice!
      I’d recommend a free platform. WordPress is great, and it and any of the other free ones will have all the tools you need. My recommendation, to narrow down your option, is to find a blog that most resembles what you hope to do, and then use the same hosting service as that one.
      My main overarching advice is to just write, write, write! Don’t worry yourself too much about the details of everything before you’ve even gotten started. Just open a simple site and start working. You’ll learn by doing as you go.
      Thanks again!

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: