It was clear that the sizable and chatty crowd in the Burke Theatre was ready to have a blast. The Fringe goers who were looking for a subdued evening of theatre had gone other places. This was going to silly fun. And Speakeasy DC did not disappoint with The Showcase Showdown.
The folks from Speakeasy, DC’s life storytelling company, are putting on a show that’s a bit different for them (from what I can tell). The company that brought us Fringe classics The Sin Show (‘09) and Chocolate Jesus (‘08) are back, and this time they’ve turned their storytelling prowess into a game show, with real audience participation. They’ve spoofed the heck out of “The Price is Right” and put all sorts of games in between their stories.
For those of you who don’t know Speakeasy, they train people in the art of storytelling and do regular shows where people get up and tell true stories on a particular theme (for NPR listeners, it’s a lot like The Moth.) We saw Chocolate Jesus two years ago and really enjoyed it. This new production takes all the fun of their regular shows and spruces it up with little variations on TPIR pricing games like “cliff hangers” for the audience to enjoy in between acts.
As always, the Speakeasy crew spins some wonderful yarns. Cindy and Mike Kane are particularly enjoyable as they tell the tale of an affair and a cat, and Christopher Love had the audience riveted with his story of a roommate from hell. John Kevin Boggs is fantastic as the host Rob Parker. His hokey cheese is just what any TPIR spoof needs. And B. Stanley is spot on as the announcer.
I don’t know that this is a company that needs gimmicks to make their formula work, but I don’t think the sparkly sequences and audience participation hurt at all. The stories may not have been as deep as those in some of their other shows, but they were fun, and fringe-y, and that’s what matters.
The Showcase Showdown
Directed by Amy Saidman
Produced by Speakeasy DC
Reviewed by Josh Fixler (aka 20Something)
Running time: 90 minutes
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?
The theater may be a bit hard to find, since it’s away from the Fringe epicenter. Speakeasy sent out an e-mail to everyone who had purchased tickets, with more exact directions that you may find helpful. Here is what they wrote:
“First of all, our venue is a little hard to find. It’s in the Burke Theatre which is inside the Navy Heritage Center which is next to the US Navy Memorial which is right next to the Archives/Navy Memorial metro stop. The memorial is a big round plaza with fountains and there are storefront shop-like business around the perimeter. The Navy Heritage Center is in that area and is the one closest to 8th D Streets. Though, not on exactly on 8th street b/c it’s a pedestrian walkway in for that one block between D and Pennsylvania. Look for sidewalk sign. Metro is best way to get there, but there are parking lots all around and it’s an easy walk from Chinatown or the Fringe area.”