2018 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Heartbreak Hitman’

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Capital Fringe Festival presents Heartbreak Hitman, an original rom-com by Leigh Giangreco. This DC-based piece follows the story of Jon (Walter Riddle), a man who makes a career out of outsourcing breakups. Hitman is an ambitious contender of this year’s Fringe, with a larger cast and technical effects (by Eliot Voelker) that are notably more professional than the average Fringe show. Hitman has a lot of potential, but like all artwork in its early stages, this piece can benefit from a few more rounds of editing.

Steeped in DC’s workaholic society, lauded reporters Jo (Jasmine Jones) and Asher (Will MacLeod) are a “power couple,” who are so devoted to their work that they have to schedule sex on their Google Calendar. When Jo meets Jon, a down-on-his-luck man who criticizes DC’s “elitist” culture, the two spark a witty friendship and, per Jo’s request, decide not to discuss their work together. Meanwhile, Jo is tasked with writing an article about a mysterious new man in town dubbed, “The Heartbreak Hitman,” while Jon meets his new client…Jo’s (soon-to-be-ex) boyfriend.

The cast here shows a lot of talent. Jasmine Jones and Walter Riddle maintain a fun chemistry with their leading characters, while Jeronique Bartley gets a lot of laughs as Jon’s social climbing friend Sam. Katie Kramer does a great job juggling a handful of roles, giving distinct character and humor to each of them (I especially liked her as Jo’s harried editor, Melinda), and Margot Trouve gives an amusing performance as the token DC flighty intern (admit it, there’s one in every office!) who is only hired because of nepotism.

What follows is an interesting story, if formulaic. Like most rom-coms, the plot-line is fairly predictable, and there are some jokes I know I’ve heard before. A lot is packed into 90 minutes, and as a result, I feel like the actors rushed their scenes a bit to make time. It would benefit the show to either trim some material, or take more time to deliver it, perhaps as a two-act play.

Running Time: 90 minutes, without an intermission.

Heartbreak Hitman plays through July 29, 2018, at Blind Whino, 700 Delaware Ave SW, Washington, DC. Purchase your tickets online.

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