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3 Small Shows With Big Dreams in the Hollywood Fringe Fest

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The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is back in its fourth edition with around 200 shows running day and night in over 20 theater venues, all in one neighborhood, through the end of the month. The quality and content of the productions vary wildly, but tickets are cheap and it's fun to take your chances, throw caution to the wind and just go see whatever's playing at any given moment. That's how we do it, anyway. (A $5 Fringe Festival button, by the way, gets you a $1 discount on all show tickets plus some cheaper drinks and other benefits.) Last week, we posted our thoughts on nine offerings we'd seen in three days. Here's how we liked three more randomly selected shows we've caught recently.

APERTURE at Elephant Stages

Aperture is Jesse Janzen's clever play about a jealous guy who hires a photographer to follow his fiancee for an evening to find out if she's cheating on him. The action takes place in the middle of the night as the husband-to-be and the photographer reconvene in the photographer's low-rent digs to view the pics together. They are occasionally joined, too, by a prostitute who works next door and pops in and out of the room with pithy commentary.

The entire production is bathed in a murkiness appropriate to the uncertainty of the characters' motivations in undertaking their seedy project. The photos projected on the back wall of the stage are unclear, yet serve to bring the photographer's story of the evening's events into sharper focus. It all culminates in a dramatic, plot-twisting revelation, which we needn't divulge here, and we'll acknowledge we didn't see it coming.

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Aperture plays the next two Saturday nights at 11. Tickets $13.75 online, $12 at the door.

3 ACTORS TIRED OF BEING RICH AND FAMOUS at the Lounge Theatre

Three likable young actors showcase their talents performing four unrelated scenes by little-known contemporary playwrights. The overall effect of the production is a bit underwhelming, kind of like we're watching work prepared for a studio class, but none of the title trio do a bad job.

3 Actors Tired of Being Rich and Famous plays tomorrow at 4 and then three more times through June 29. Tickets $13.75 online, $12 at the door, except tomorrow which is a pay-what-you-can performance.

NOT ANOTHER TEEN SOLO SHOW at Theatre Asylum

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Rati Gupta tells us all about her career as a midwestern Catholic school student in a vivacious one-woman show.

The monologue details Gupta's efforts to transcend her ethnic stereotyping as a boring smart girl and to achieve popularity, romance and a slutty reputation, but doesn't really provide an emotional context for this personal narrative. She tells several stories of her earlier life, with some reenacted in brief video clips, but consistently stops short of demonstrating what they've meant to her then or now, other than that they bring to mind comparable situations in Cruel Intentions and other teen movies of the era.

A cheerleader in high school and a professional hip hop dancer since then, Gupta shows us part of a routine once early on in the show and then never again afterward. When it moves on to runs in Chicago and New York later this summer, NATSS would improve by revealing a bit more of Gupta's soul to go along with the entertaining patter about IM chats, breaking curfew and looking for a prom date.

Not Another Teen Solo Show plays tomorrow at 8:30 and then three more times through June 29. Tickets $11.75 online, $10 at the door.

Related:
6 Weird, Wonderful And Terrible Shows We've Seen At The Hollywood Fringe Fest
3 Disarming, Experimental And Hilariously Cornball Shows At Hollywood Fringe Fest