Capital Fringe Review: ‘Bayou Blues’ by Max Johnson

Bayou Blues is a communicative exploration of a young black girl’s fears moving towards a summative moment of terror amidst Hurricane Katrina. And while this piece is scattered, unfocused, and hard to follow, what could be more appropriate for a piece that explores the mind of a scattered, unfocused, and hard to follow girl?


Although you might not be able to completely comprehend every moment of this show, every second will bombard you with emotion. So while it was a task to decipher the plot or the “moral,” there was no guesswork as to what emotions director and actor Shania Lynn wanted her audience to feel in her one-woman show. Her constant expressiveness draws you in and really makes you want to understand what is happening instead of isolating the audience as many abstract plays might do.

For a quick moment of brutal honesty- this is not a profound script in itself. The premise of a girl entrapped within her insecurities in herself, her familiy, and ultimately God does not make for a particularly unique theatrical experience. It is Lynn’s jumping from one medium of storytelling to another makes the show feel so personal. Lynn vibrantly strode through moving poetry, a rapped portion, monologues encompassing a multitude of characters, and most memorably, her dancing. Paired with the atmospheric music, Lynn’s movement was deliberate, powerful, and graceful- a true highlight and an incredibly effective medium for her. Are the ideas in this show that unique or profound? No. But are the emotions tangible and thought provoking? Undoubtedly yes.

This show’s venue of a hip, downtown bar is wholly appropriate. The clamor and murmuring undertone is right at home, and the space provides Lynn with an arena to interact and inspires and greater involvement from the audience.

If you’re looking for a show that will ask you to think and force you to feel, Bayou Blues is the right show for you.

Bayou Blues plays through July 27, 2013 at the Jin Lounge – 2017 14th Street NW, in Washington DC. For performance times and ticket information, visit their Capital Fringe page.

2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Bayou Blues’ by Shaina Lynn


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