There’s a certain, ineffable quality of some shows that I can only describe as “fringyness”. It is hard to say what makes a show fringy. Certainly there are some theatrical conventions that are fringier than others. Clowning is fringy, as is audience participation. Inside the beltway jokes are fringy, as are hand panted, cardboard set pieces. A show may have all of these things and still not be fringy, but then again a show may have any one of a number of elements, that, when put together, create a whole that is fringier than the sum of its parts. I suspect this is why many of us go to Fringe. These elements, which might annoy us in a play any other time of year, are suddenly what we crave for three weeks in July. I expect a certain level of fringyness in my festival outings, and I’m often bored if I don’t get it.
There’s very little I can say about The Escapades of Farty Johnson except that it was fringy. But then again, I think I was looking for fringy, and so I was happy. Written, directed, and performed by Patricia Krauss, this one woman show was a recipe of 2 parts clown, one part puppetry, one part sing-along, and 2 parts dance. It had a loose plot, about a girl named Tooty Johnson, who is waiting to audition for a role with a big Italian director. But don’t get caught up in that, as I’m sure it wasn’t important. The play was silly and playful without being overwhelmingly good. The transitions were a little bit bumpy, and it was difficult to see how all the parts fit together, but it made me smile. So, if you need your yearly fringyness fix, perhaps Farty Johnson can give it to you.
The Escapades of Farty Johnson
Written, directed and performed by Patricia Krauss
Produced by Patricia Krauss
Reviewed by Josh Fixler (aka 20Something)
Josh writes a blog about inexpensive DC arts and culture: www.districtbeat.com. Check it out.