Dating. Yeesh. The very word strikes fear and frustration into the hearts of millions around the world. Ok Stupid’s Secret Math Lab is a parody of Ok Cupid and other online dating programs that match partners through statistical data (with a clever “spiritual” twist to add a dash of Christian Mingle into the mix). In Erin Bylander’s play, 20-something Lucy (Colleen Sproull) is visited in her apartment by Al Gorithim (Chris Andersen), a humanoid manifestation of the OK Stupid program. Mayhem ensues as Lucy enters the world of online dating, as well as the computer program itself.
Bylander’s witty banter is reminiscent of a top shelf television comedy. The quality of acting across the seven-member ensemble varies, but Sproull and Andersen anchor the show with solid performances. Sproull brings heart to the production in her portrayal of “everywoman” Lucy. Andersen’s Al Gorithm has the charisma of a nerdy Ryan Seacrest. Donta Hensley is amusing in multiple character roles. As Production Designer, Andersen provides one of the best sets I have seen in my history of fringing, utilizing light-up plexiglass panels to suggest computer screens with Mac aesthetic.
As is so often the case in a fringe production, the script feels a little bit long for the venue. The neat-and-tidy happy ending doesn’t quite jive with the apparent unsettling message (you can never find your 100% perfect match, so settle for the one you’re with?), so less resolution might pack a stronger punch in this instance. Nevertheless, Bylander is a promising playwright with excellent chops, and OK Stupid makes a perfect fringe show for a first date at Fringe: smart and funny without anything too weird, lewd or uncomfortable.
Running Time: 60 minutes.
OK Stupid’s Secret Math Lab plays through July 28, 2013 at Fort Fringe Bedroom – 612 L Street NW, in Washington, DC. For performance times and to purchase tickets, visit the show’s Capital Fringe page.
2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘OK Stupid’s Secret Math Lab’ by Erin Bylander.