Before you continue reading, here's a tip: Open up another tab on your web browser and buy tickets to "The Sin Show" before the thing sells out, because it's only a matter of time. It's that good.
All done? Okay. Now I'll tell you why, if you go to a single Fringe performance this year, it should be this one. SpeakeasyDC, the organization that reveres the ancient art of storytelling above all else, is back at Fringe with yet another winner.
This year the show is focusing on the deadly sins: seven actors lay themselves bare on stage to describe their own battles with gluttony, sloth or greed. Each story is impeccably written, blending the humor and sadness that comes with the self-awareness of hindsight.
John Kevin Boggs kicks things off on the right note with his tale of trading in a cigarette addiction for binge-eating. The audience roars with laughter at his self-effacing descriptions of multi-course meals and late-night snacking, then gasps when he reveals how much weight he gains in a four-month period. These emotional ups and downs are what make the individual stories work so well. The audience becomes invested in the narrators, because it's hard not to like someone who's so honest about his or her foibles.
Well, maybe with the exception of pride. But even if Joseph Price didn't prove himself to be likable, his droll delivery in telling an unapologetically arrogant story about his meteoric rise as a college playwright made it one of the strongest segments. Other standouts were Seaton Smith (who's double-booking apparently, since he also has a role in "Slow News Day") and his inexplicable hatred for a popular classmate, and Saurabh Tak, who probably had the most uproarious story of the evening with his tale of lusting after a friend's wife.
Thinking about the show later, it's remarkable how much can be done with so little. True, there was a mesmerizing video installation that punctuated each performance with a bit of thumping music, but none of that was really necessary. In the end, the power came solely from each individual's pared down descriptions of personal flaws.
-- Stephanie Merry