2015 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Cheeky Monkey Sideshow Presents: CMSS X 3D, OK?’

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Get ready for a performance unlike any other you’ve seen – this variety show features an award-winning troupe of professional performers focused on the weird, the quirky, and the downright stomach-turning. This creative performance makes the Coney Island Circus Sideshow look like going to church on Sunday, eating a sensible meal for supper, and getting a restful 8 hours of sleep before responsibly meeting the dawning work week on Monday. In other words, these zany performers make other variety shows look like a total yawn.

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The “Chief Creative Mind” Stephon Walker and Director Thomas Plott have put together a heart-racing set of performers with diverse and nature-defying talents. The ambience – meaning the set, the costumes, and the general vibe – reek, in the words of my companion, “steam punk burlesque.” The costumes tend to goth meets Victorian period pieces (which is sometimes exactly what goth is, anyway) meets circus sideshow meets David Lynch on a dark day.

I don’t want to give away too much of what awaits you, especially since every show is different and every act is unique.  According to Cheeky Monkey’s site, their troupe includes performers specializing in an amazing range of abilities, including sword swallowing, fire eating, extreme physical stunts (human blockhead, bed of nails, glass walking), contortion, magic, mentalism, escapes, human and animal anomalies, and more.

My personal favorite act was the fire-eating dancer-mime with a goth clown/ladybug thing going on, who somehow made fire-eating look tasty, sexy, silly, and dangerous all at the same time.

If you’ve ever sat around and wondered, “Hey am I EVER going to find myself one day sitting in Trinidad on a Tuesday night in a dark warehouse-like room while a human-sized ladybug breathes fire, licks the sticks that make the fire, and the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind” reverberates the walls?” Then dreams do come true. If you’re wondering why this sounds confusing and intriguing, it’s because it is, and that’s what made this act mesmerizing.

I’ll warn you that some of the other performances are not for the faint of heart – but for those of you who like thrills that push the boundaries of the human capacity, you may find yourself wanting to come for all five of Cheeky Monkey Side Show performances at Fringe.

Running Time: Approximately 70 minutes, with no intermission.

Cheeky Monkey Sideshow Presents: CMSS X 3D, OK? plays through Sunday, July 26, 2015 at the Logan Fringe Arts Space: Trinidad Theatre – 1358 Florida Avenue, NE, in Washington, DC. For performance times and to purchase tickets, visit their Capital Fringe page.

RATING: BEST OF THE 2015 CAPITAL FRINGE FOUR-AND-A-HALF-STARS8.gif

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