Capital Fringe Review: ‘SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL’ by Andrew L. Baughman

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There’s a little gem of a solo-show buried in the great gallery of Capital Fringe, don’t let it slip under your radar! SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL is a production by one of DC’s newest companies, Tasty Monster Productions, co-founded by partners in art and life Heather Bagnall Scheeler and Luke Tudball. Theirs is clearly a labor of love, and that love carries over into their work, and to the audience.

Heather Bagnall Scheeler and furry friend in 'SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL.'

SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL gives dramatic life to a potpourri of blog entries from the same-titled blog by Laurel Spears (singlemarriedgirl.blogspot.com), adapted for the stage and performed by Bagnall Scheeler. She paints a vivid, touching, and often amusing portrait of a young woman who married before fully understanding herself. The story opens with Laurel’s decision to “take herself on a date,” and follows her complex relationship with loneliness in an amiable though ultimately star-crossed marriage. The true heart of the piece comes out in Laurel’s memories of a beloved but imperfect mother. Bagnall Scheeler’s honest connection with her audience is palpable and leaves nary a dry eye in the house.

A couple moments of the adaptation’s non-linear narrative might prove confusing to audience members unfamiliar with Spears‘ blog (for instance, there is the set-up of “two great loves of my life” early in the play, and while the blog deals with both, only one relationship is explored here). On those occasions, it rests upon Bagnall Scheeler’s consistent and thorough characterization from anecdote to anecdote to reinforce the through-line of Laurel’s journey. CapFringe might have served the work better with a more intimate venue, though the audience didn’t seem to mind the air conditioning, plush seats and gorgeous decor of Gala Tivoli Theatre. Elliot Lanes takes full advantage of the lighting capabilities of Gala in his design, using shadow and cyclorama lighting to powerful effect. Tudball’s impressive jungle gym set, juxtaposed against Bagnall Scheeler’s sophisticated presence and delivery, serves to remind us that inside, Laurel is still a beautiful child who views the world around her with a sense of wonder.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to our Fringe Preview.

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