2023 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Sip & Paint: A Manifesto in the Year 2023’ by Ginny Simmons (3 1⁄2 stars)

A vulnerable, experimental solo performance that finds oddly profound moments of meaning in the nothingness of life.

Sip & Paint: A Manifesto in the Year 2023 is a one-woman show written and performed by Ginny Simmons. It explores the meaning of life: where, how, and if one can find it. Any woman over 30 has heard the painful but well-intentioned refrain: “You never know true meaning in your life until you have kids.” Simmons uses this seemingly innocuous phrase as the catalyst for an exploration of higher self; if the childless cannot attain a life of “meaning,” what is the closest to “meaning” that we can get? With a rambling, scattered energy that one might find speaking with an acquaintance at a party, Simmons ponders this and other existential questions.

Simmons begins with no fanfare — walking up to the mic, thanking the audience for joining her, and beginning what seems like a completely unscripted comedy show that nearly leans into TED Talk territory. She opens with a quiet, almost anxious rant against the bland but insidious Sip & Paint industry, and poses a question that my partner and I often argue about: what is art? Should it ask a question? Should it answer a question?

While I thoroughly enjoyed her off-the-cuff presentation, which felt both unscripted and nearly unrehearsed, I think Simmons and this piece would be better served by a tighter delivery or an audience that felt freer to laugh. The piece felt experimental and incredibly casual, without being a stand-up act — an energy that not every audience can appreciate. I often wanted to laugh out loud, but there was hesitancy; there were no clear punchlines, and an audience that doesn’t share her energy won’t know when to laugh. I would have loved to have seen this show with a younger, late-night crowd. While this piece may not be everyone’s glass of wine, you’ll come away from the understated ending having experienced something oddly profound — a small moment of meaning in the nothingness.

Running Time: 50 minutes.

Sip & Paint: A Manifesto in the Year 2023 plays July 22 at 3:45 pm and July 23 at 11:45 am at Rind – 1025 Thomas Jefferson. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online. 

Genre: Comedy
Performer: Ginny Simmons
Age Appropriateness: Recommended for children 13+ older
Profanity: Yes

The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.


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