Metro Weekly

Fringe Follies

The Capital Fringe Festival offers a bit of everything

Over the next couple weeks you can see a theatrical spoof of Fox-TV’s Glee, in which troublemakers are forced to form a comedy club. Also on tap is one man’s take on The Princess Bride, and a musical comedy inspired by the old game Carmen Sandiego. There’s even a punk rock interpretation of Shakespeare.

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again: The Capital Fringe Festival starts today, Thursday, July 12, and presents over 130 productions running at 15 venues until the end of the month. Billed as the second largest Fringe Festival in the U.S., Capital Fringe, now in its seventh year, offers everything from offbeat plays to quirky musicals to outrageous monologues, not to mention live music at its main hub, Fort Fringe, in the same block as the DC Eagle.

Bareback Ink at the 2012 Fringe Festival

Bareback Ink at the 2012 Fringe Festival

There are roughly two handfuls of shows this year with LGBT content, including Jon Jon Johnson’s Despertar (opening Saturday, July 14), a tango-inspired drama about a lesbian couple and a gay couple dealing with the fallout from cheating. Other shows of LGBT interest include Bob Bartlett’s provocatively titled Bareback Ink (opening Friday, July 13, Gear Box), described as an erotic reimagining of the Ganymede myth with a hunky tattoo artist; Timothy R. King’s In The Company of de Sade (opening Tuesday, July 17), a raunchy, funny play-within-a-play about adapting the ideas from the sexually provocative French philosopher; and Charlotte Jones’s ”Airswimming (Abridged) (opening Sunday, July 15, Goethe Institut), described as a ”surreal dramedy” focused on two women’s struggles to adapt to a changed society in the future.

And then there are all those cultural spoofs, from Harry M. Bagadasian and Liam Brennan’s Glee-spoofing He HEE! (Opening Saturday, July 14, Studio Theatre), to Joe Brack’s My Princess Bride (Opening Saturday, July 14, Gear Box), to Jeff Vonch, Patrick English and Adrian Verkouteren’s parody Where in the World? The Untold Story of Camilla Sanfrancisco (Opening Thursday, July 12, Studio). Meanwhile, Beat on the Bard Theatre Company punks Shakespeare in Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opening Friday, July 13, Warehouse).

Finally, this year’s Fringe festival spoofs itself with Mario Baldessari and Ethan Slater’s The Every Fringe Show You Want to See In One Fringe Show Fringe Show (Opening July 14), which promises everything but the kitchen sink, including ”gratuitous partial nudity! Screaming! Exposure to gay stuff! Profanity! Simulated oral and anal sex!”

The Capital Fringe Festival runs to July 29, with all shows at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW. (unless specified otherwise). Individual tickets are $17 plus a one-time purchase of a $5 Fringe button. Call 866-811-4111 or visit

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.