Capital Fringe Review: ‘Double Freakquency’ by Justin Schneider

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THREE STARS
One of the best things about Fringe is that you have a chance to encounter shows that push the boundaries of theater. AVAdventure Production’s Double Freakquency does just that. Using dual-channel headphones, the company gives audience members a chance to choose how they take in the plot. Do you listen to the conversation in one apartment or the other? The words that are being spoken out loud, or the characters’ thoughts? The events taking place in the past, or in the future? It’s a fascinating idea – unfortunately, storytelling falls by the wayside in favor of exploring the technique.

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The set-up (conceived, written, and directed by Adam Stackhouse and Liz Sykes) is a solid one. In the wake of a scheme-gone-wrong, former roommates Alex (Summer McCarley) and Renee (Caitlin Carbone) find themselves living on opposite sides of a very thin wall. In order to make each other jealous the two women drag Doug (Josh Blubaugh) and TJ (Mauricio Marces) in as their new roommates, and the inevitable complications arise. AVAdventure excels at creative use of the dual soundtracks, as when the cast simultaneously plays out two different bowling dates at the same time or lip-synchs two very different conversations with the same set of actors. It’s the basic stuff that trips them up. Sometimes the two channels just have the same sounds at slightly differing volumes; sometimes characters’ thoughts make no sense without the context of the full conversation in the other channel. Even at its most creative, Double Freakquency often leaves you with the frustrating sense that you’re being forced to choose between following the scenes and fully grasping the company’s innovation. Luckily there’s no wrong way to listen to the show, so you can find the balance that works best for you.

Running Time: 60 minutes long.

Double Freakquency plays through July 27, 2013 at Studio Theatre Stage 4 – 1501 14th St NW in Washington D.C. For performance times and to purchase tickets, visit the show’s Capital Fringe page.

 

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