When it’s 90-some degrees inside a Capital Fringe Festival venue, the most appropriate attire is the least amount of clothing. So the first thing you’ll notice about performer Brynn Tucker when she comes bounding into the Gear Box theater is that she’s probably more comfortable than you. All she’s wearing is a neon-pink sports bra and matching boy shorts.
But don’t be too jealous; her one-woman show is called the “The Guide to Dancing Naked,” and she’ll perspire quite a bit in her quest to get everyone inside the theater more comfortable in his or her sweaty skin.
Tucker makes no attempt to titillate. “Dancing naked is not stripping,” she says emphatically. “There are no duets.” Rather, she’s referring to the fresh-out-of-the-shower phenomenon that encourages women (and men) to get down before getting dressed. The hour-long monologue — punctuated with choreography for Tucker and the audience — is about her life as a dancer, from her childhood crush on Fred Astaire to her teenage trials on the cheerleading squad.
It’s a fun, entertaining, freewheeling show. Maybe a little too freewheeling. Tucker includes some tough talk about racism and body image, and it’s difficult to make such quick transitions in tone. And not to demean her experience, but tackling eating disorders at the end almost seems cliched.
Tucker’s best vignettes find her moving while she talks, like standing on a chair, extending her chair while eulogizing Cyd Charisse or busting out Beyoncé’s moves after quipping, “I know, I don’t have as much junk in the trunk.”
Tucker is known around Washington as a fresh-faced triple threat. She’s a company member at Synetic Theater and has recently appeared in shows at Ford’s Theatre and Theatre Alliance. She has many friends in the theater community — that was obvious from Friday’s boisterous “Go Brynn!” crowd — but the collective, choreographed dance party that closed the show was a great equalizer. Anyone can dance, Tucker said: “You just need a mirror, some music and your naked self.”
Ritzel is a freelance writer.