Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Chronic Singles Handbook’ by Jessica Vaughan

Writer and performer Randy Ross got laid off and went around the world, came back and wrote a book about it, and now takes to Fringe to perform it. It’s true to the life of a traveller, which means there are many more cringeworthy moments than inspiring ones, but the literary feel to the performance and the humor and self- deprecation make for an amusing evening.

Randy Ross.
Randy Ross.
It is obvious this is pulled from prose and sometime it feels like a book reading that he is acting out.  His personality and tale can carry the play, so sometimes the token props feel superfluous but Director Manny Frenz has created a series of scenes in which Ross summons the boat of a ship or a Thai hotel room with minimal help.
The story bounces from his trip to his old relationships to his therapist’s office as he explores his chronic single state and finds a series of “weird, short, depressing” relationships: the crazy Russian lady in Greece, the prostitute in Thailand, the ex-girlfriend with the $60 dollar panties.  Very little about this is politically correct or PG, but it is funny, sometimes raw, and never preachy. If there is a moral, it is that change is nearly impossible and we might as well embrace ourselves…well, it’s either that or don’t pay for sex in South Africa.
The show is clearly small part of a much larger whole and I’m not sure there’s much more to the whole, but as Randy asks the women he meets, “Are you having fun?” In the end, I can answer, Yes, it was fun!”
Running time: 60 minutes.
The Chronic Singles Handbook plays through July 27, 2013 at Gearbox — 1021 7th St. NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC. For performance times and to purchase tickets, please visit the Capital Fringe Page.

2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘The Chronic Single’s Handbook’ by Randy Ross. (there are 2 videos).


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