Capital Fringe 2014 Review: ‘The Human Algorithm’

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The Human Algorithm is a solo performance piece that resembles less of a play and more of a standup comedy routine performed by your drunk aunt at Thanksgiving. While writer and performer CJ claims to have figured out the four basic aspects of being a human after traveling the world all her life, her piece instead comes off more as a travel blog with endless wacky stories to brag about and legions of non-American people to call “tiny” and “darling.”

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Which isn’t to say that this show wasn’t well-performed. CJ is incredibly engaging. There isn’t a dull moment in the show. Her self-direction is apparent; the pacing is swift and her material draws you in. Stylistically, this show is tight and entertaining.

Nonetheless, I felt like this show did not meet its own expectations. Each story was set up to explain some aspect of her “algorithm,” but most of this time there was only a slight connection that made each bit feel pretty shoehorned into her concept. While it was fun to hear about her foreign taxi drivers, her strange “anti-flabby” yoga treatment in India, and her general disdain for French people, her show did not meet her own goal of elucidating some aspect of the human experience. Because she sets her show up on this premise and then basically ignores it, the writing felt a bit disjointed and unfocused.

The show ends with a clever bit of re-incorporation as she tries to gauge the audience’s humanity using her “algorithm.” But as with the rest of the show, this wrap up becomes more about CJ’s antics than CJ’s ideas. The Human Algorithm is a fun time with some pretty amusing stories evenly placed throughout. However, by its own design, it left me wanting more.

The Human Algorithm plays through July 20, 2014 at Caos on F-923 F Street NW, in Washington, DC. For more information, visit their Capital Fringe Page.

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