Fringeworthy

Hip-Shot: Who’s Your Baghdaddy? or How I Started The Iraq War

Wooly Mammoth Theater, 641 D St NW.

Remaining Performances:

Sunday, July 17th at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, July 20th at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 21st at 8 p.m.
Friday, July 22nd at 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 23rd at 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 24th at 2 p.m.

Plus the post-Fringe extension:

Wednesday, July 27 at 8 p.m.
Thursday, July 28 at 8 p.m.
Friday, July 29 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 31 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 8 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 7 at 2 p.m.

They say: "Only a boisterous, irreverent musical comedy with singing and dancing CIA agents could tell the true story of how we started the Iraq War. Prissy pundits, bickering bureaucrats and a dissolute defector get medals for their supporting roles."

Emery’s Take: In probably the swankiest show as this year’s Fringe Festival, Charlie Fink’s musical satire Who’s Your Baghdaddy? or How I Started The Iraq War has all the trappings of a glossy studio pop song. Never mind that you are treated to that era’s greatest pop offerings while waiting for the actual show to start:, yes ‘N Sync, Destiny’s Child, and pre-freak Christina Aguilera. It’s all there: the big budget, the catchy hooks, the simple lyrics, the hyperactive producer. (No, really: Charlie believes in his production. I got whisked away to the reserved seats and scored a free beer.) Yet one thing you can hardly find in those mindless radio singles but that is evident in Baghdaddy? is a sincere desire to tell an honest tale.

Well, somewhat honest.

The tale is told through sporadic but seamless flashbacks between 2001 and 2003, from the perspective of three players involved in the search of those pesky weapons of mass destruction. Your hosts/narrators amid the frenzy are the “Fundits”–a trio of fun pundits (get it?) who proclaim that history shouldn’t be something one has to labor through, but rather enjoyed through song and dance. The opening number, “Hystorical Fiction”, sets the tone. Sure, we're going to revisit a very controversial and divisive period in our history, but we are going to do it in an extravagant and humorous way.

With 17 songs on the program, including a bodacious rap number called “Who’s Your Baghdaddy?”, there's plenty to keep your attention fixed. What this imaginative, funny and well directed musical does so well, though, is to maintain the integrity of its purpose. We all know this story and how it ends. Baghdaddy? sheds a new light and perspective on the mistakes made while still allowing us to have a good time.

See it if: You watch MSNBC on mute while 98 Degrees bumps in the background.

Skip it if: You've stopped looking for WMDs.

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