Capital Fringe Festival: ‘[Expletive]-ing Up Everything’
By Fiona Zublin
Sunday, July 17, 2011
It’s appropriate that a musical called “[Expletive]-ing Up Everything” is about people in their 20s: It’s the only time in our lives when we’re young enough to feel that everything can be ruined by the vagaries of love and yet old enough that the decisions we make have some weight on our lives. Spoiler: Everything works out.
The hero of this story is Christian (Lee August Praley), a pudgy, self-deprecating guy who has reached his mid-20s and still thinks there’s a secret to talking to girls. His best friend and nemesis is Jake (John Fritz), a rock singer who gets all the chicks and is illustrated as a bad friend even though it’s Christian who bad-mouths Jake as a hipster jerk. He says this immediately after admitting that he made a Noam Chomsky puppet, an action that apparently does not render one a hipster jerk.
When Christian meets the blond, gorgeous Juliana (Crystal Mosser), he’s terrified that Jake will get to her first. Christian is one of those average-looking guys who believe women don’t love them because they’re not hot enough, when it’s probably because their personalities mostly consist of complaining that girls don’t love them for their personality. He doesn’t seem to really care about Juliana as anything more than a leggy blond cipher, but they develop mutual crushes over a ukulele and a love for the movie “Juno” (that sentence looks like a joke but is not). Meanwhile, Jake and his friend Ivy (Dani Stoller) have to come to terms with their long-held attraction to each other.
The score, by David Eric Davis, rocks the house with nearly every song and is aided by the cast’s uniformly excellent voices. The acoustics in Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s rehearsal hall often mean it’s difficult to make out the lyrics, but when you can hear them they’re clever, from the standard love ballads to the pastiche songs for Jake’s rock band (it’s called “Please You,” but gives no indication that Jake has the first idea about how to do that). The music (as it so often does with musicals) saves the evening, but you’ll probably still be rooting for the various female characters to go home with the handsome mute guitarist (Jeremy King) rather than either of their love interests.