DC: Fringe: On the Sly

On The Sly
by Jan Zimmermann
a Formerly Witty Production
Warehouse – Mainstage
1021 7th Street, NW
Remaining Performances:
Sunday, July 13th, 7:30pm
Saturday, July 19th, 5pm
Wednesday, July 23rs, 7pm
Sunday, July 27th, 4:30pm

Description: When Christopher Sly mistakes a country manor for the local pub, he encounters a world he never could have imagined. He just wants a beer, but the lady of the house and a troupe of actors twist his reality and ours into this farcical take on The Taming of the Shrew.

Formerly Witty Productions is a young troupe of five actors recently out of college. They have a nice energy and keep the pace moving. Their fun on stage means we in the audience have fun. And they’ve picked a good vehicle for themselves, the amusing and often clever On the Sly. It would work a little better if all actors were giving one hundred percent to all the layers of the story (real actor – frame character – Taming of the Shrew character). The production can be a little uneven in terms of characterization. Evan Cartwright is an appropriately dour butler, and one of the three actresses in the “troupe of actors” has a great sarcastic delivery. On the other hand one of the frame characters is pregnant for the sake of a few jokes, but the actress playing this role only gives cursory attention to her physicality, occasionally putting her hands on her back, but the rest of the time hopping around the stage with everyone else. The script’s satirical take on the misogyny inherent in Shakespeare’s Shrew doesn’t quite work when you don’t believe the actor playing Sly (Forrest Seamons) is vehemently interested in getting the Madam (Rebecca Cox) into bed. Zimmermann’s script takes the view that Shrew is a man’s fantasy of how a woman should act, and when Sly winks at the butler and calls him “handsome” this idea loses some of its punch. Still it’s a fun little piece for those who know Shakespeare’s play.

3 stars


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