2019 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Good & Kissed’

Ladies, grab your closest friends, make a post-show dinner reservation, and head to Capital Fringe’s Good & Kissed for a night out that will make you laugh, cry, and spur your own stories of loss and redemption.

Good & Kissed is an autobiographical one-woman show performed and written by Miranda Jonte, with direction and script development support from Chelsea Thaler. After a friend reveals to her the secret life of her longtime boyfriend, Miranda begins a journey of rebuilding and rediscovery. As so many of us have done, she tries almost over-enthusiastically to start a new life for herself, with near-catastrophic results. Dialing it back a notch, she retreats to where she is known and loved, to a family vacation on the beach. There, where she can be herself without reproach, she encounters a paddleboard guide who reminds her that she is still young and vibrant. She embarks on a journey of “yes,” and the results are heartfelt and inspiring.

From the moment she steps on the stage, Jonte lives up to her self-titled billing as “teller of stories” — she is an accomplished story-teller who personally connected with each audience member, inviting us into her world and her very personal experience. Despite her brutal honesty and raw emotion, Jonte expertly walked the line of keeping her story personal without making us feel like intruders. She commanded her emotions flawlessly, making for a very compelling narrative.

That is, until the epilogue. If Jonte and Thaler had ended this story at about the 45-minute mark, the audience would have been left inspired and full of imagination about Jonte’s adventures and journeys to come. Instead, Jonte tells us exactly what happened, to the point that it almost feels like she is reading us her resume. She shamelessly plugs upcoming projects, which simply dulled the warm glow she had so painstakingly built with the rest of her story.

This show has the makings of something truly wonderful. I would encourage lighting and sound designer Erika Koekkoek to take their competent sound and lighting effects a step further, building a subtle soundscape and light differentiation between city and shore. With a little less script and a little more tech, this story can serve as a beautiful and wonderful story that will move and inspire.

So, despite some light work, I mean it when I say grab your girls, and bond over Good & Kissed. You deserve it, and so does this team.

Running Time: 55 minutes, with no intermission.

Good & Kissed plays through July 20 at Christ United Methodist Church, 900 4th Street SW, Washington, DC. For tickets, call 866-811-4111, or go online.

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