The Every Fringe Show You Want To See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show

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Editorial Review

. . . And the title’s too long, too
By Maura Judkis
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Watching a show that mocks every cringe-worthy Fringe Festival show cliche, it turns out, feels exactly the same as watching a cringe-worthy Fringe show: You’ll leave it with feelings of regret and embarrassment, wondering if its mediocrity was an intentional riff on Fringe shows’ mediocrity, or if it isn’t quite meta enough for that.

You don’t have to be a seven-year veteran audience member to get the self-referential jokes of “The Every Fringe Show You Want to See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show” because it sticks to some basic and not very insidery punch lines: The theaters are hot and sweaty! Many male actors are gay! Fringe shows are wackier than normal theater!

Writers Ethan Slater and Mario Baldessari (who also plays the director in the show) explore some of the threads that connect shows at Capital Fringe -- and every other fringe festival across the country. There’s the overwrought autobiographical show (”You are playing me as a fetus festering in my mother’s angry womb”), the angry feminist rant (”Every good Fringe show needs a ‘Men Are Pigs’ song”), the unnecessary vulgarity, nonsensical violence and the eccentric puppetry. “I will not be out-puppeted,” says the director, and he delivers, with a puppet sex scene that would make the creators of “Avenue Q” blush.

Still, the motley crew of Just Barely a Theater Company Theater Company get in plenty of good one-liners. The Catholic University drama program, the pipeline through which many of the young actors in the District make it to our stages, takes a beating, as do other local theatrical institutions: The Arena Stage, with its glass curtain, is “a $100 million aquarium.” And they accurately point out that it’s easy to cheat at the Fringe Audience Awards: “Close your Web browser and vote twice -- It’s like living in Florida.” But maybe you should save your double votes for another show.

Fringe review: 'The Every Fringe Show You Want To See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show'
By Maura Judkis
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Watching a show that mocks every cringe-worthy Fringe Festival show cliche, it turns out, feels exactly the same as watching a cringe-worthy Fringe show: You’ll leave it with feelings of regret and embarrassment, wondering if its mediocrity was an intentional riff on Fringe shows’ mediocrity, or if it isn’t quite meta enough for that.

You don’t have to be a seven-year veteran audience member to get the self-referential jokes of “The Every Fringe Show You Want to See in One Fringe Show Fringe Show” because it sticks to some basic and not very insidery punch lines: The theaters are hot and sweaty! Many male actors are gay! Fringe shows are wackier than normal theater!

Writers Ethan Slater and Mario Baldessari (who also plays the director in the show) explore some of the threads that connect shows at Capital Fringe -- and every other fringe festival across the country. There’s the overwrought autobiographical show (”You are playing me as a fetus festering in my mother’s angry womb”), the angry feminist rant (”Every good Fringe show needs a ‘Men are Pigs’ song”), the unnecessary vulgarity, nonsensical violence and the eccentric puppetry. “I will not be out-puppeted,” says the director, and he delivers, with a puppet sex scene that would make the creators of “Avenue Q” blush.

Still, the motley crew of Just Barely a Theater Company Theater Company get in plenty of good one-liners. The Catholic University drama program, the pipeline by which many of the young actors in the District make it to our stages, takes a beating, as do other local theatrical institutions: The Arena Stage, with its glass curtain, is “a $100 million aquarium.” And they accurately point out that it’s easy to cheat at the Fringe Audience Awards: “Close your Web browser and vote twice -- It’s like living in Florida.” But maybe you should save your double votes for another show.