Capital Fringe 2014 Review: ‘Everything I Do’

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Everything I Do is a musical, loosely adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman by playwright and composer John Becker. Just as the tagline in the promos for the show say, “You’ve never seen Shaw like this.”

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In this version, directed by Brad Porter, Mr. Tanner (Phil Hosford) is diagnosed with cancer and it is his last dying wish to see his sons, Jack (Jared Calhoun) and Hector (David Tuttle) well-cared for, happy, and settled. Mr. Tanner wants Jack to marry the beautiful and whip-smart, Ann (Sarah Welsh), but Jack in defiance to his father, and ignoring his own obvious love for Ann, refuses and insists that Ann and their childhood friend, Octavius (Same Game) are the better matched pair. Jack decides to leave behind Ann, the girl he has loved since he was a child, and his dying father for freedom, for the open road and adventure.

Hector, unknowing to his father has married Violet, who he knows his father will not approve of. When Violet gets pregnant, she and Hector enlist the help of Straker (Tucker Bacon), Jack’s friend, confident, and handyman around the house, to pretend that he is the father. In this way, Violet is assured that Hector will not be cut off from Mr. Tanner’s money.

Can Mr. Tanner sort out the sordid and complicated relationships before he meets his demise? Can Jack overcome his own stubbornness and rebellious nature to see that his father cares for him and only wants the best for him? Will Violet and Hector come clean to Mr. Tanner?

The show is really well-written—the banter is lively and funny, whip-smart and a bit saracastic. The lyrics to the songs had me in stitches. The biggest issue, unfortunately, was the size of the venue. The room was just too huge for the sound system that the group had, I could barely hear the singing. In addition, the transitions between the musical numbers and the speaking parts of the show were very awkward, mostly because the music (which sounded as if it was coming from someplace backstage, really far away) didn’t quite start on cue. The actors would turn to start the song, and have to pause until the music began. There was also live guitarist on stage, which I think may have been better if the show just had that.

I though the actors played their parts with aplomb. I especially enjoyed Violet and Hector’s “Morality” number, where they try to convince Straker that they are really doing the right thing by lying to Mr. Tanner and Phil Hosford as Satan in Jack’s dream has me snickering as I sit here thinking back on it. Jared Calhoun and Sara Welsh both had very lovely voices, and I wish I was able to hear them better.

Everything I Do is a really funny and sarcastic show, and I loved the actors performing in a Gilbert and Sullivan Gangnam style! I am confident that the technical issues will be resolved. I really did enjoy myself, and with a few adjustments, this could be a 5 star show!

Running Time: 80 minutes, with no intermission.

Everything I Do plays through July 26, 2014 at Atlas Performing Arts Center—Lang Theater— 1333 H St, NE in Washington DC. For performance information and to tickets, go to their Capital Fringe page

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Anne Tsang
Anne is a self proclaimed theater nut and lover of live music. She once spent 8 hours, non-stop, at a theater festival. watching a series of plays--you have to be a nut to be able to do that! Anne's first love in theater are Broadway musicals and she has an uncanny luck in winning lottery tickets for the shows! Anne also loves all forms of live music and is always amazed and touched by the energy of a great show. Anne also loves to travel and is fascinated by food and often combines the loves in her life--theater, music, food--with travel to new destinations and has been to performance venues around the world. What better way to share her enthusiasm and love for all things theater and music than to write for DCMetroTheaterArts? She can't wait to start sharing her observations with you!

1 COMMENT

  1. This show has potential, but is weak. The singer’s voices (thankfully not miked) were barely audible (why aren’t singers trained to sing loudly these days and why didn’t the director tell these singers to project their voices?).

    There is a very good guitarist on stage, but for some strange reason the director included distracting recorded background music whenever the singers sang.

    Although there is one number taking place in hell, the authors chose not to include the wonderful material from the original where the merits of heaven and hell are debated.

    In general, the show lacked the energy that the material demands.

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