You’re going to want to sit close to the stage for Avalanche Theatre Company’s “Dream Love.” Not only will that ensure you hear what’s happening when the free musical performance gets going at Fort Fringe, but it also gives you a closer view of the production’s most dazzling element — the dance.
Ryan Tumulty’s devised piece follows a familiar path with the story of a love triangle among Milo (Ryan Alan Jones), his girlfriend Lia (Tori Bertocci) and his best friend Daemon (Robert Bowen Smith). Each of these main players also has a confidante. Milo’s sister Alexandra (Anna Lathrop) rushes in to offer a pick-me-up when Milo’s relationship falls apart and he refuses to get out of bed. And Naomi (Jenna Zhu) is a sounding board for Lia, much the same way Snyder (Sharisse Taylor) is for Daemon.
These relationships offer a bit more context to what at first seems like a pretty straightforward case of: girl leaves boyfriend for best friend. The story jumps around in time, too, filling in some additional blanks.
In truth, none of the dialogue is nearly as illuminating as the portions of the production that are merely movement. Many of the verbal exchanges occur simultaneously, so that Snyder and Daemon’s talk session perfectly juxtaposes what Naomi is saying to Lia. It can feel a bit gimmicky and without offering time to let the words land, the approach only highlights how relatively unimportant words are here.
But the dance is exceptional. Jones and Bertocci are standouts; they’re powerful dancers capable of impressive and evocative movements. And the choreography, ranging from explosively acrobatic to gracefully balletic, telegraphs real emotions. Milo and Lia’s straightforward meet-cute doesn’t necessarily get us invested in their relationship, but their passionate pas de deux does. The dance may not be enough to entirely make up for an uneven script, but it does make you forget, at least for a moment, the band blasting behind you. And that’s a real accomplishment.
8:15 p.m. Friday, 10:45 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. July 23 and 7:15 p.m. July 26 at the Shop at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW. 866-811-4111. www.capitalfringe.org. $17 plus the one-time purchase of a Fringe button. 60 minutes.