Theater Info for the Washington DC region

1st Stage The Hunchback Variations

By • Jul 13th, 2010 • Category: Fringe, Reviews
The Hunchback Variations
1st Stage
Goethe Mainstage
Through July 25th
60 minutes
Reviewed July 10th, 2010

The Official Description: Ludwig van Beethoven and Quasimodo host a panel discussion on their attempts to create the perfect, impossible sound described in Checkhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard.’ Unfortunately, they are both deaf. A sonic exploration into success, failure, and friendship with a Hunchback.

What You’ll Like: This was an amusing show, with a few moments of outloud laughter. After the first “presentation” of the panel, it was easy to see what would be happening next. Aaron Bliden as Ludwig van Beethoven and Michael Saltzman as Quasimodo of Notre Dame worked well together. This play is simply intended to be funny, with no hidden deep meanings, which was a nice change from some of the other plays and solo Fringe pieces I had seen. There was also a fair amount of resources put into this short show, with elaborate costumes, props, and a true lighting design with sound effects.

What You Won’t: The “presentations,” while getting more brief each time, did feel repetitive. The show only ran for 40 minutes, instead of the advertised hour. This was good, because it can allow you to make it out to another show, but it made me wonder if an entire section of the script had been dropped, either accidentally or on purpose. There were many unused props on the table, which contributed to me wondering if something was dropped.

Overall: Amusing, but repetitive.


  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Aaron Bliden
  • Quasimodo of Notre Dame: Michael Saltzman


  • Director: Jason Schlafstein
  • Stage Manager: Cody Whitfield
  • Costume Designer: Brittany Graham
  • Lighting Designer: Jason Aufdem-Brinke
  • Sound designer: Peter Van Valkenburgh
  • Associate Producer: Kelly Garvis

Disclaimer: Capital Fringe provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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