2023 Capital Fringe Review: ‘This Is What You Look Like’ (4 stars)

Making a mockery of our ridiculous world.

What do you get when you combine a sextet of bouffons (clowns à la Jacques Lecoq’s school of physical theater) and the most outrageous things in American society from the past few years? A funny and often insightful Fringe show!

This Is What You Look Like begins with the Q-Anon Shaman leading a land acknowledgment and the national anthem — in this case, “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas then “Proud to be an American.” From there, the show continues its 55-minute nonstop satirical series of vignettes looking at the world through a distorted fun house mirror.

Topics of mockery and warped reflection include incels, LGBTQ+ panic and all-gender restrooms, J.K. Rowling, Taylor Swift, toxic masculinity, gun violence, abortion, and world politics. Despite heavy-sounding topics, the audience was laughing, occasionally grossed out or groaning, and sometimes cringing.

The skilled ensemble from mimebaby theatre deftly embodied the grotesque, bulbous jesters, delightfully shocking the audience at every turn.

The myriad vignettes themselves were hit or miss. Some critiques of modern society felt a bit too “on the nose,” with little new to say on the topic. Some moments were pure gross-out humor or outlandishly sexual. However, a few were surprisingly thought-provoking and intriguing, making me question why I felt offended or shocked.

As the title suggests, we too are participants in the society being ridiculed, watching snippets of our world and being asked to view ourselves through the distorted mirror. No one is safe from being mocked, questioned, or prodded in this play — audience included — which makes for a largely worthwhile, amusing, and mentally-stimulating evening.

Running Time: 55 minutes.

This Is What You Look Like plays July 22 at 9:00 pm and July 23 at 3:30 pm at Sweet – 3rd Floor – 1050 Thomas Jefferson. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

Genre: Comedy
Performed and created by: Brian Bowyer, Heather Hosford, MK Korbisch, Connor McAndrews, Chelsea Thaler, Rose Weiss
Age appropriateness: Appropriate for Adults Only
Profanity: yes

SEE ALSO: 2023 Capital Fringe Preview: ‘This Is What You Look Like’
(preview by Chelsea Thaler, July 12, 2023)

The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.


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