2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘SuperNOVA’

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SuperNOVA, a political satire fit for the ridiculous times we find ourselves in, combines music and millennial wit to great effect as it depicts a new secessionist frenzy gripping northern Virginia (NOVA). The actors present an intriguing and timely story, from the start of the movement to its far flung end. The dialogue, lightning fast, manages to pack an incredible amount of plot into a single hour with no intermission (occasionally making it difficult to keep up). And the show as a whole, with a few slip ups (mostly during the songs which, while a little rocky at times during some solos, still entertained), kept me and the audience laughing the entire time; it should only get better as the run goes on.

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The characters are especially engrossing, even the relatively minor ones. Events follow Scott (played by Max Snyder), a high functioning college student who blames his life’s woes on being assigned the label of “Virginian” and decides to do something about it. And while he represents the main focus of the play, it is the rest of the cast that really makes it memorable. Scott’s girlfriend Naomi (played by Sarah Marksteiner, who co-wrote the play alongside Director Alex Bulova), independent and brilliant in her own right, isn’t trapped in the typical role assigned to women in musical theatre. The enigmatic and vaguely threatening Mailwoman (played by Rachel Ingle) stirs the pot, adding a chaotic brand of hilarity. And even those often thought of as background players, like the musicians Chris Mayhew (who created the music and lyrics with Bulova and Marksteiner) and Andie Matten, develop personality and make their own mark on stage.

What really makes SuperNOVA so fun, however, is the unusual brand of humor it employs. As political satires of its kind are rare, the show feels new and refreshing. One-liners, pop culture references, strange unanswered questions, farcical happenings, unforeseen twists, and fourth-wall breaking jokes abound.

The score includes probably the single best musical number on filibusters that has ever been written, and the meta nature of it all (even in the geography it represents) makes it a perfect fit for the D.C. Fringe. If you get a chance to see it, it is sure to leave you grinning till the end.

Running Time: 60 minutes, with no intermission.

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SuperNOVA is playing through Sunday, July 24, 2016 at Gallaudet University’s Elstad Auditorium – 800 Florida Avenue, NE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.

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Check other reviews and show previews on DCMetroTheaterArts’ 2016 Capital Fringe Page.

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