2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Aliens, Nazis and Angels’

Leah Harris has been through a lot of crap. Coping mechanisms for healing an emotionally havocked childhood are hard to come by, but when extraterrestrials, WWII German Soldiers, and Gabriel himself live in the same world as your schizophrenic mother, what else can you do, but cope? An autobiographical, one-woman show, Aliens, Nazis and Angels exposes the cultivated journey of a young, Oreo-consuming Jewish girl from Milwaukee, eager to find solace through her own independence.

Leah Harris, her grandmother, and mother, 1977.
Leah Harris, her grandmother, and mother, 1977.

Directed by Regie Cabico, and led by Ms. Leah Harris, the one-hour play opened to an electric crowd of Harris’ fans, cheering as their heroine made her entrance toward the Argonaut’s miniscule, 6×6 stage – we’re getting intimate here, folks! Intimacy: “an act of expression, serving as a token of familiarity.” Well, clearly there’s no shortage of familiar-to-Harris faces in the crowd, but for those who don’t yet know the secure, yet athletic personality of Ms. Harris, you’ll find her conviction to combat an unimaginable past life – inspiring.

Born into a Jewish family, raised by a fakakta motha, and then, as a ten-year old, drugged with an Easter basket of antidepressants, Leah Harris is bleeding with traumatic recollection when delivering her life’s story. In it, Harris humorously delivers remembered dialogue from her past as she slips into nearly a dozen different accents when portraying remembered-souls, like her hazy-eyed grandmother, and her, for a time, Jell-O-obsessed, Lutheran stepmother.

Equally witty, as it is theatrical, Cabico provides the staging and technicalities – pulsing music, tinted lighting, etc. The mental ward “history lessons” of John Waters rocket Harris’ transition into post-adolescence, now removed from the confined walls of a psychotic home – she is free to “be here, now”.

In Aliens, Nazis and Angels, Harris won’t be found acting; instead are assemblages of chronological, and beyond-personal confessions. Debbie Downer is nowhere to be found – amazing, considering the show is brimming with unappealing memories, Ms. Harris is humorous by nature, optimistic, and in perfect times – goofy.


Aliens, Nazis and Angels is playing through July 23, 23016 at The Argonaut – 1433 H Street, NE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.

Check other reviews and show previews on DCMetroTheaterArts’ 2016 Capital Fringe Page

Read the preview of ‘Aliens, Nazis, and Angels.’


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Benjamin Dennis
Native to southern Pennsylvania, Ben Dennis is a writer, actor, singer and drama critic, all the while studying at Penn State University. Featured in The Record Herald, Shippensburg News-Chronicle, and Centre Daily Times, Ben’s theatrical pieces have received rave reviews from theatre-folk and new audiences alike. The 2014 Totem Pole Award Winner for “Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role”, Ben has taken an abundant passion for performance art in new directions, frequently seen as a theatre reviewer and commentator of summer-stock, collegiate-level and professional productions. Additionally, he believes in the power of up and coming talent in youth environments, advocating for arts education new theatrical interests.


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