Today’s Fringenda: A Cowardly and Superstitious Lot of Recommendations Edition
Happy Batman Day! Fringeworthy née Fringe and Purge alumnus Glen Weldon's Bat-book The Caped Crusade: The Rise of Batman and the Triumph of Nerd Culture won't be out until next year, but maybe you can celebrate by going to see The Adventures of Tapman at Atlas tonight at 7:30.
Our redoubtable Camila Domonoske reports it's a good time, never more than when tap-dancing superhero Tristan Burns "gives up on the feeble pretense of narrative altogether, and just dances." Because that's exactly what I thought after I finished reading Detective Comics No. 587, my first Batman comic, in the summer of 1988. "Pretty exciting; I love the noir atmosphere and suspense, but I wish it had more tap dancing."
Mercifully, my tastes have evolved by (tiny) leaps and (modest) bounds since then. We're celebrating Batman Day, or maybe just the high incidence of quality in this year's Capital Fringe — the ninth — by recommending nine shows you can take in this very evening.
Tapman is one. Here're the others.
The Old Man Never Let It Go (Atlas: Lab II, 6 p.m.) — A wordless 30-minute adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's Pulitzer-winning novella The Old Man and the Sea sounds like a tall order. But tireless Fringeworthy review-scheduler Caroline Jones says that hearing-impaired performer Hector J. Reynoso, a veteran of the speech-abjuring Synetic Theatre Company, is up to the job. As she puts it, "the spirit of the story, of one man triumphing against seemingly insurmountable odds remains, thanks to Reynoso and his impressive array of expressions."
W3 (Warehouse, 6 p.m.) — Macbeth reimagined as an ecological cautionary tale? Joshua Buursma decrees that it works. "Eloquent but maddeningly elliptical one moment, grounded in outright slapstick the next, W3 is never boring," he writes, "even when it’s testing our patience."
A Fire in Water (Atlas: Lang Theatre, 6:15 p.m.) — Agent Domonoske loved the big themes and big voices of this new, myth-inspired chamber opera, asking, "Next to an opera singer, who doesn't feel more merely mortal than usual?"
The Fever (Goethe: Main Stage, 6:30 p.m.) — Actor Pat O'Brien's solo performance of Glen Berger's play Under the Lintel was one of the highlights of last year's Fringe. O'Brien returns for a compressed run of Wallace Shawn's 1990 Obie Award-winning, "conscience-baiting, 60 minute-Marxist-guilt-trip," in O'Brien's words. Could it be less than good? Inconceivable! Semi-related: Song of Spider-Man, Berger's memoir of the six years or so he spent working on the much-maligned, budget-busting musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, is a great anatomy of a showbiz trainwreck if you like that sort of thing.
The Duchess of Malfi (Flashpoint, 7:30 p.m.) — It's your last chance to see We Happy Few's new production of John Webster's tragic potboiler. Seasoned agent Rachel Kurzius found herself caught in a web of Jacobean intrigue.
The Capital City Showcase (Baldacchino Gypsy Tent, 8:30 p.m.) — Every lineup of this comedy-and-music variety show is different, so your mileage may vary. The one I saw featured funny standup sets from Andy Kline and Jenn Tisdale and music from Harris Face & The Restoration and Bo Jankans. None of them are returning, but tonight's edition is slated to feature standup from David Carter, Jamel Johnson, Shahrvar Rizvi and Ryan Schutt, with music from Linsay Deming and Justin Trawick. An anthology-format show where you can slip out (quietly, please) to grab a refill between sets is exactly the kind of programming that belongs in the Gypsy Tent.
Coriolanas (Atlas: Lang Theatre, 8:30 p.m.) — "Faithful in all the right places and progressive in all the others," agent Daniel Parisi declared of this elysian theatre production of Shakespeare's not-all-soldiers-ought-to-go-into-politics play, which changes the titular general's gender and casts Emily Marsh in the role.
The Monster Songs (Gearbox, 9:45 p.m.) — An "ethnocrytozoomusicologist" sings about things that go bump in the night. "A perfect Fringe choice for your inner child or an actual child, but you’ve been warned: You will leave humming the songs and scouring the internet for an mp3," Jonelle Walker warns.
A Fire in Water photo © 2014 Zach Kronisch Photography