BWW Review: CODEPENDENT at Capital Fringe

BWW Review: CODEPENDENT at Capital FringeCapital Fringe is one of the best places to catch artists self-producing work in DC, many of them for the first time. One of this year's standout offerings, Codependent, is a swift, funny and heartfelt comedy written by Julia Karis and Emily Rekstis. Over the course of 75 minutes, we follow best friends Allie and Mia through their last 24 hours living together after eight years of, well, codependency. At first glance, it might seem like a slight riff on the traditional Odd Couple structure - Allie (Kelly Hubbell), who's moving out, is a bit more organized and straight-laced, and Mia (Karis) is messier and has cloudier notions about her future. But, wisely, things aren't so binary - Hubbell and Karis' performances, by way of Karis and Rekstis' script, carry many shades, and balance each other out. Allie, though more responsible, is clearly nervous about her future to the point of inaction, and Mia more keenly tapped into an emotional intelligence. The balance and friction between them leads to a nice rapport that carries the show.

Codependence doesn't have much in the way of a plot, and that isn't a bad thing - small conflicts arise, as they do with best friends and roommates, and each is tackled in a way that feels true to life. Its biggest success is a subplot involving Mia's coming out to her mother - successful not because it feels weighty but because the show allows it to happen on Mia's terms. Allie has been pushing her to do it for months; Mia's attitude is that she'll get to it when she gets to it. When we finally get to the big moment, it's not a big moment at all - simply a fact of Mia's life.

Elizabeth Callahan directs the show in the tight Dove space at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, one of the least accommodating I can recall in Fringe history. Callahan and the cast make it work well, using plenty of levels, but if Mia and Allie never stood up from the couch that ties their set together, an audience member sitting even two rows back would miss most of the action. Kudos to this team for making it work, and to Hubbell and Karis for a pair of sharp performances that register even when they can't be seen.

Codependent is clearly a crowd-pleaser - the audience I saw it with had a great time, and I suspect it'll be one of the biggest sellers at Fringe. You can buy tickets here.

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From This Author Jack Read