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Capital Fringe 2014 Review: ‘Coosje’

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(Best of the Capital Fringe)

originalEvery now and then CapFringe makes a divine pairing of venue and production. Such is the case with No. 11 Productions’ Coosje at the Goethe Institut, where the art house ambiance enhances this absurdist, powerful little musical about the relationship between artists, critics and art; more specifically, the relationship between Pop Artist Claes Oldenburg (Steven Conroy), his wife Coosje (Julie Congress), and the art they make together.

Conroy and Congress (also co-writers with Director Ryan Emmons, and Visual Artist Jen Needs) give top shelf performances as the odd couple who make beautiful art together. A third ensemble member, Sina Heiss, gives mesmerizing voice to Danny Tieger and Enrico de Trizio’s heart-filled songs. The artistry in Trinzio’s projection design, Sara Jane Munford’s Installation Art and Kathleen Blanchard’s costumes reminds us that in the right hands, big theatrical magic can be made on a small budget.

Coosje is definitely worth putting on your Fringe list. It left this crusty reviewer a little misty-eyed, and more than a little perplexed – which is exactly what Oldenburg would have wanted.

Running Time: 1 hour.

Coosje plays through July 16, 2014 at Gallery – Goethe Institut-812 7th Street NW, in Washington, DC. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to their Capital Fringe page.

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