Credit: Courtesy the Artist

This Babes With Blades Theatre Company world premiere is a rowdy,
rollicking spoof of 18th-century English Restoration comedy, infused with
fast-paced farcical energy and lots of swashbuckling swordplay. A product
of Babes With Blades’s Fighting Words Program—which develops new works that
place heightened language on a par with stage combat in the
storytelling-Arthur M. Jolly’s play concerns 15-year-old Trothe (Deanalís
Resto), the daughter of a nobleman, who is in love with a flamboyant poet
(Felipe Carrasco). After her father is murdered, Trothe learns that the
only way she can protect her inheritance is either to marry a famous
Prussian swordmeister or to beat him in a duel. To the rescue come
Trothe’s aunt Theodosia (Megan Schemmel), the finest swordsperson in
England, as well as Trothe’s scheming maids, Penelope (Kate Booth) and
Tilly (Ari Kraiman). Tilly dons a fake mustache to masquerade as the
Prussian—a stratagem nearly thwarted when the real Prussian (Amanda Forman)
shows up.

Directed by Morgan Manasa with fight choreography by Samantha Kaufman, the
show takes the conventions of classic comedy—cross-dressing and mistaken
identity, witty repartee laced with puns and double entendres, slapstick
violence, satirical commentary on gender and class divisions—and ramps them
up with a nonbinary 21st-century perspective. The actors’ performances are
impressively athletic and exuberantly exaggerated, and the convoluted plot
revels in its own improbability. Best of all, this production is genuinely
family friendly, with multiple levels of humor designed to appeal to both
kids and grownups.   v