Capital Fringe Review: ’21 King’ by Julia L. Exline

True Wit Productions presents 21 King, a disappointing drama written by Jessica Lloyd Krenek. Directed by Emily Jane Warheit, this production unfortunately failed to either catch or hold my interest.

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In this play, a thoroughly unlikeable character Isabel “Z” Taylor (Michelle Fitzgerald) tries to claw her way to the top of her father’s business, to the irritation of everyone around her. Arrogant, entitled, and bossy, “Z” shows no redeeming values, and yet there is the presumptuous impression that you are supposed to feel a sense of empathy for her character. Nelly Diaz and Katherine Trapani play the “Chorus;” a pair of secretaries that mutter waspish insults about “Z” to each other throughout the entire show in eerily matching monotones, and Allan Davis plays her uneven competition Seth Barrett, who goes from sweetly sincere to devilish in a confusing blink of an eye. The clichéd plot (sexuality and power in the workplace), has already been exhausted in the media, and the performances are awkward and stunted. Set in the 1980s, the costumes are the one bright point in this otherwise languid production, with the actors sporting appropriately dated styles like kinked hair, side-ponytails, and oversized glasses. However, I do not find this nearly enough of an incentive.

Save your money for a worthier ticket. 21 King just doesn’t cut it.

Running Time: 70 minutes.

21 King plays through July 28, 2013 at Goethe Institut-Gallery-812 7th Street NW, in Washington, DC. For performance information and to purchase tickets, go to their Capital Fringe show page.


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