Capital Fringe Review: ‘Tight Assets’ by Jessica Vaughan

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Amelia Adams, Michael Cavanaugh, and Alex Corby are all well-trained, incredibly gifted performers in the ancient Italian art of Commedia Dell’Arte. They call themselves AlulA, a group they founded when they met at the Professional Training Program at the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theater. In case that sounds too dignified, do not be fooled. These three are clowns. And in the best tradition of clowns, they manage to skewer modern money, the financial system, politics, and women’s and reproductive rights in this show they created together. And lest you think that sounds a little serious, when the program says scatological, it is not metaphorical. There is no joke they won’t go after and no level they won’t sink to. The end result gets messy. That’s not a metaphor either.

It was awesome. The acrobatics were impressive; the picture of american life they painted was painful and hilarious, and the physical gags were just disgusting.  The action starts in a bank with an embezzling manager (You DON’T want to know where he hides the money), his scheming assistant’s desire to blow the whistle on him, and his daughter’s need for an abortion with her Scottish boyfriend. (Yes, there is a kilt).A host of other insane characters and puppets tumble on and off stage as one after another gets tossed the money. In one scene, the assistant manages to beat her boss, physically and mentally, while professing to be doing his bidding in a magical bit of physical theater. In another, all three actors are tangled together in a flying mass of limbs. But my favorite moment was the unexpectedly serious ultrasound, where a dance of hands becomes a beautiful picture

Subject matter, language and costumes are not for children’s eyes or ears, nor for the easily offended. If you enjoy skewering the self-important, aren’t averse to exploring liberal politics, and enjoy bathroom humor (Who doesn’t?), this cannot be missed. You may also be in the mood for some incredible acrobatic feats and puppetry and just clowning around.

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One Response to Capital Fringe Review: ‘Tight Assets’ by Jessica Vaughan

  1. G. B. Marcus July 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Saw the performance last night and am in complete agreement with Ms. Vaughan’s fine review. It is uplifting when an old art form is kept alive by brilliant performers. The art is timeless, and the contemporary updates are probing. Do not miss this show!!!